My ball landed in a bunker and rolled back from the lip but came to rest in front of a very large stone that would definitely have damaged my club had I attempted to try to hit the ball out of the bunker. Since the ball was not resting directly against the stone, I removed it without disturbing the ball. Should I have taken a penalty?
Thanks for asking this questions.
Please see rule 23-1 of USGA regarding the stones in Bunkers.
Stones are by definition loose impediments regardless of their location. Thus, when the ball and the stone lie in or touch the same hazard, the stone may not be removed. However, a Committee may adopt a Local Rule stating that stones in bunkers are movable obstructions. Unless this Local Rule is put into effect by the Committee, players may not remove stones in bunkers without penalty.
Hope this helps you for application.