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Okay, I now see that the Playing Surface is defined thusly:
Playing Surface: The area below where the disc came to rest from which the stance for the next shot is taken. The playing surface is generally the ground but can be any surface deemed suitable for play by the tournament director or course official.
So I guess if the TD has said, kneel on a disc or towel...then you're good to go. Otherwise... could they say that after the fact and erase a penalty for illegal stance violation?
Here's the one on this topic......
Maintaining balance while putting
Question: "I have a good rules question for you involving the stance rules. A player uses an object (in this case a branch) behind him to maintain balance for a putt. First, would this be considered "full control of balance"? Second, could you argue, if the branch is not so large that the players body weight will not move it, that it is a violation of 803.03 D and or 803.04 A because they could have moved the branch less by not hanging on it? Thanks for any input."
Response: The question can be boiled down to: Can a player hold on to an object behind his lie to maintain balance while throwing/putting?
Applicable rules: 803.04 (Stance), 803.05 (Obstacles and Relief), 804.05 (Disqualification and Suspension)
Discussion: The rules do not require that you maintain your balance while putting. You can have a grand mal seizure as long as you don't step ahead of your lie. At the time you decide to step ahead of your lie is when you have to demonstrate balance. This is simply to prove that you are not committing a falling putt, such that you would not be able to stop yourself from falling forward due to the motion of your putt. Grabbing a branch is merely acquiring another support point, which is perfectly legal, as long as it is not ahead of your lie.
Holding on to something BEHIND your lie is not prohibited by the rules, provided that the tree that the golfer is using as a supporting point is in-bounds (803.03.A (3)). The branch must not be moved, or else the player would be in violation of one or both of 803.04.D and 803.05.A, which require you to take the stance that results in the least movement of objects that are part of the course and which prohibit you from moving a branch to "make room for a throwing motion".
Conclusion: A player can hold on to something behind her lie, in certain circumstances, without violating the PDGA rules. In general that which is not prohibited by the PDGA rules is allowed, provided of course, that the action done by the player is not considered "a willful attempt to circumvent the rules of play". (This, of course, is cheating!)
Other Comments: Many members of the committee have actually tried to hold on to some object behind their lie, while leaning forward to throw or putt. In our opinion this action makes the ensuing throw/putt MORE difficult to accomplish