Jul 31 2014, 03:17 PM
Another question from a local discussion:

A player is putting inside the circle and hanging on to a branch behind his lie for support. He has his foot (supporting point) legally behind his mini. His body & putting arm are leaning/extended well over and in front of his lie. If he were not hanging onto the branch he would obviously fall forward in front of his lie. [So far all legal per Q&A #16.]

After he putts: he hangs on to the branch with body hanging over/in front of his lie for a "2 count" (from Chuck's video ( before letting go of the branch and falling to the ground in front of his lie.

Legal putt or fault? Is just hanging there over his lie "demonstrating balance" per Q&A #37, or does he have to pull himself back behind his lie to demonstrate balance there before advancing?

QA 16: Using an Object Behind the Lie for Support
<abbr title="Question">Q:</abbr> Can I hold onto a branch or other object behind my lie while putting?
<abbr title="Answer">A:</abbr> Holding on to something behind your lie is not prohibited by the rules, provided that the object is in-bounds. It also must not be moved, since you are required to take the stance that results in the least movement of obstacles on the course. You are not allowed to hold onto another person for support, as that person is not part of the course. Applicable rules: 802.04 Throwing from a Stance; 803.01 Obstacles and Relief.

QA 37: What is "Demonstrate Balance" for Putts?
<abbr title="Question">Q:</abbr> As I release a putt, I push off from my back foot so that after release I am balanced on my front foot. I typically freeze there for a couple of seconds, then swing my back foot forward and continue toward the hole. Is that a foot fault?
<abbr title="Answer">A:</abbr> It's hard to say. Your group will have to make a judgment call. To demonstrate "full control of balance" the player must perform some action that breaks up the flow of movement toward the target after release, before proceeding toward the target. Some examples of actions that demonstrate balance might be: (1) a clear pause and display of balance, (2) placement of the back foot on the ground behind the mark, or (3) retrieval of the marker disc. The key to all of those is to show balance and control of your body behind the mark before moving forward. The best course of action is to leave no room for doubt, which is easy to do if you are indeed in control of your body after you've released the putt. Applicable Rules: 802.04 Throwing from a Stance.

Jul 31 2014, 03:55 PM
Holding onto a branch usually would not meet the condition of "must not be moved" unless the branch is so large it's firm like a tree trunk. But let's say there was a big trunk and there was a way to hang onto it behind your lie. I believe you could legally do that and stretch as far forward as possible in front of the lie without touching anything. Release your throw and lean back to gain balance before moving forward.

Jul 31 2014, 04:10 PM
Release your throw and lean back to gain balance before moving forward.
Where does the "lean back" requirement come from?

The scenario in the OP would seem to be the same one as F-1 in your video with the addition of the permissible hanging via Q&A #16.

The player has performed an action that breaks up the flow of movement towards the basket by demonstrating balance, albeit with the aid of the permissible branch.

Jul 31 2014, 09:24 PM
Perhaps we have to split hairs and add "unsupported" to demonstrating balance. But I think holding onto a support does not "demonstrate balance" in what most would consider the intent of the rule. To be precise, it would seem that a player must demonstrate balance unsupported where their center of gravity is behind the mark for a two count before progressing forward. But then, the current rule is still a judgment call that hasn't been precisely defined. So it's still left to the players to make the call. Holding onto the branch is little different from waving your arms to regain balance then falling in front of your lie even if it is a 2 count before contact. Demonstrate Balance must occur in a way that the player does not stumble or fall forward of the lie.

Aug 01 2014, 12:18 AM
I don't have a horse in this race either way but did find the scenario intriguing and enjoy the discussion.

It doesn't seem like a "center of gravity" clause would ever make it into the official rules by virtue of being ridiculously hard to judge.

You can clearly demonstrate balance with a hand on the ground behind your lie, right? Football linemen do that all the time in a three-point stance. So if you can use your hand to demonstrate balance are we restricting demonstrative balance supporting points to the playing surface?

Aug 01 2014, 12:21 AM
I would say balance is in relation to the playing surface. I showed how you could fall down completely behind the mark and regain balance before moving forward. If it suited you, you should be able to crawl forward showing balance.

Aug 04 2014, 07:34 AM
In essence, balance in this scenario is however your card mates define it. For me, I would have a hard time arguing a stance violation if the player could be in that position for a period of time of his choosing without falling immediately after the putt

Aug 04 2014, 08:22 AM
Just my two cents, but I have to agree with JoakimBL and others here. If they are holding that position for a couple of seconds (and could do so longer if they desired), then it sounds like they have demonstrated balance. I see no reason to change the rules for this scenario either.