There, the rule #4 written in 1744:
You are not to remove stones, bones or any break club for the sake of playing your ball, except upon the fair green, and that only within a club’s length of the ball.”
In 2017, the rules book does not treat the stones (loose Impediments) the same way as the clubs (equipment or obstructions)
Principles to remember in 2017
- Loose impediments must not be removed in a hazard (bunker or water hazard). In case of a breach: 2 stroke penalty in Stroke Play or loss of hole in match Play.
- We may remove without penalty loose impediment through the green.
- Movable Obstruction may be remove without penalty anywhere on the golf course.
- If a ball moves after removing a loose impediment, it is a 1 stroke penalty and the player must replace the ball. If the ball is not replaced, the total penalty is 2 strokes or loss of hole in Match Play
- On the green if the ball moves after removing loose impediments: No penalty and we must replace the ball
- If a ball is moved after removing an obstruction anywhere on the golf course, No penalty and the ball must be replaced
- When the obstruction is a club it is considered an equipment and the following rules apply to equipment:
- If my ball, after a stroke hits any of my clubs, 1 stroke penalty and I must play the ball where it lies
- If my ball hits the club belonging to a fellow competitor (Stoke Play), No penalty and I play the ball where it lies
- If my ball hits the club belonging to an opponent (Match Play), No penalty and I have the choice between playing the ball where it lies or replay my stroke.
In the actual Rules Book, we have 27 pages to cover the rules and decisions regarding loose Impediments and obstructions. We can find also 17 pages to covers the rules and decisions on the golf Clubs.
Rules were much more simple back in 1744!