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RELIEF SITUATIONS AND PROCEDURE: GENERAL

20/1

Club to Be Used in Measuring

Q.A player, taking relief under a Rule, uses his driver to measure the one club-length or two club-lengths prescribed in the relevant Rule. He drops a ball correctly and the ball rolls less than two driver-lengths, but more than two putter-lengths, from where the ball first struck a part of the course when dropped.

Under Rule 20-2c, a dropped ball must be re-dropped if it rolls more than two club-lengths. If the ball comes to rest in a poor lie, may the player opt to use his putter to measure the distance his ball has rolled, in which case he would re-drop under Rule 20-2c and escape the poor lie?

A.No. The player must continue to use the club he originally used for measuring for all measuring in a given situation.

20/2

Borrowing Club for Measuring Purposes

The Rules require that a ball to be dropped must be dropped by the player himself. For the purpose of measuring, the player who is required to drop a ball may use any club he has selected for the round (Rule 4-4). He may also borrow a club for measuring from anyone, including his partner. If he borrows a club and drops a ball and plays it, he incurs no penalty provided that the same outcome could have been achieved with one of the player's own clubs selected for the round. If he could not have achieved the same outcome by measuring with one of his own clubs, he incurs the penalty under the applicable Rule for playing from a wrong place (see Rule 20-7).

Decisions related to 20/1 and 20/2:

20-2b/2 Measuring Club-Lengths.

25-1b/15 Measuring Across Ground Under Repair in Obtaining Relief.

LIFTING AND MARKING BALL

20-1/0.5

Whether Player Himself Must Lift Ball

Q.Rule 20-1 states: "A ball to be lifted under the Rules may be lifted by the player, his partner or another person authorized by the player." On the other hand, other Rules, e.g., Rules 24-2b(i) and 25-1b(i), state that the player shall lift the ball. Does Rule 20-1 override other Rules which imply that the player himself must lift the ball?

A.Yes.

Related Decision:

20-3a/0.5 Whether Player Himself Must Place or Replace Ball.

20-1/0.7

Lifting Ball to Determine Application of Rule

Q.May a player lift his ball to determine whether he is entitled to relief under a Rule (e.g., to determine whether his ball is in a hole made by a burrowing animal or is embedded)?

A.In equity (Rule 1-4), if a player has reason to believe he is entitled to relief from a condition, the player may lift his ball, without penalty, provided he announces his intention in advance to his opponent in match play or his marker or fellow-competitor in stroke play, marks the position of the ball before lifting it, does not clean the ball and gives his opponent or fellow-competitor an opportunity to observe the lifting.

If the ball lies in a position that entitles the player to relief, he may take relief under the applicable Rule. If the player is entitled to relief and fails to comply with this procedure, there is no penalty provided he takes relief under the applicable Rule (see Decision 18-2a/12).

If the ball does not lie in a position from which the player is entitled to relief, or if the player is entitled to relief but decides not to take it, the ball must be replaced, and the opponent, marker or fellow-competitor must be given the opportunity to observe the replacement. If a player who is required to replace the ball fails to do so before making a stroke, he incurs a penalty of loss of hole in match play or two strokes in stroke play under Rule 20-3a, but there is no additional penalty for failure to comply with the procedure for lifting or under Rule 20-1 or 21.

If the player lifts a ball without having reason to believe that it lies in a position from which he is entitled to relief without penalty or if the ball does not lie in a position which entitles the player to relief and the player fails to comply with this procedure, he incurs a penalty of one stroke but there is no additional penalty under Rule 20-1 or 21.

Related Decision:

5-3/7 Ball Thought to Be Unfit for Play; Committee Involvement.

20-1/1

Ball Lifted from Putting Green in Mistaken Belief It Is Wrong Ball

Q.A player, mistakenly believing the ball he has played onto a putting green is a wrong ball, picks the ball up without marking its position. He then discovers that the ball is his ball in play. What is the ruling?

A.The player incurs a penalty stroke and he must replace his ball (Rule 20-1).

20-1/2

Player's Ball Lifted by Opponent Without Authority

Q.In a match between A and B, B without A's authority, marked the position of, and lifted, A's ball on the putting green. Is B subject to penalty?

A.Yes. Under Rule 20-1, a player's ball may be lifted by his opponent only with the authority of the player. Since B was not entitled to lift A's ball, B incurred a penalty stroke (Rule 18-3b).

20-1/3

Ball Marked and Lifted by Opponent Without Player's Authority; Player Lifts Ball-Marker, Claims Hole and Opponent Disputes Claim

Q.In a match, B marks the position of A's ball and lifts it without A's authority. B holes out. A picks up the ball-marker with which B had marked the position of his (A's) ball and claims the hole. B disputes the claim. What is the ruling?

A.B incurs a penalty stroke (Rule 18-3b) for lifting A's ball without authority. A incurs a penalty stroke for lifting the ball-marker (Rule 20-1). A must replace his ball and hole out; otherwise, A loses the hole.

20-1/4

Competitor's Ball Lifted Without Authority by Fellow-Competitor

Q.In stroke play, a fellow-competitor lifts a competitor's ball on the putting green without the authority of the competitor. Such action is contrary to Rule 20-1. What is the ruling?

A.There is no penalty and the ball must be replaced (Rule 18-4).

Decision related to 20-1/2, 20-1/3 and 20-1/4:

30-3f/10 Player's Ball Lifted Without Authority by Opponent in Four-Ball Match.

20-1/5

Competitor's Ball Lifted Without Authority by Fellow-Competitor's Caddie Who Subsequently Substitutes Another Ball Which Competitor Plays

Q.A competitor's ball lying on the putting green is lifted by a fellow-competitor's caddie without the authority of the competitor. Subsequently, the fellow-competitor's caddie by mistake substitutes another ball and the competitor plays it. The error is then discovered. What is the ruling?

A.When a competitor authorizes another person to lift his ball, the competitor is responsible for any breach of the Rules (Rule 20-1). The converse is generally true, i.e., the competitor is not responsible for a breach of a Rule caused by the unauthorized lifting of his ball. Thus, in this case, the competitor should not be penalized under Rule 15-2. The competitor should hole out with the substituted ball, without penalty.

Related Decisions:

15-2/2 Player Mistakenly Substitutes Another Ball on Putting Green; Error Discovered Before Stroke Played.

20-6/3 Ball Mistakenly Substituted When Dropped; Correction of Error.

20-1/5.5

Ball-Marker Moved Accidentally by Player

Q.A player marked the position of his ball on the putting green and lifted the ball. When it was the player's turn to play, he could not find his ball-marker. Subsequently, he found the ball-marker stuck to the sole of his shoe. He concluded that he had accidentally stepped on it while assisting his partner in lining up a putt. What is the ruling?

A.The player incurs a penalty stroke under Rule 20-1 which requires that the position of a ball be marked before it is lifted, and contemplates that the ball-marker will remain in position until the ball is replaced. The player must place the ball as near as possible to its original position but not nearer the hole – Rule 20-3c.

Under the last paragraph of Rule 20-1, a player is exempt from penalty if his ball-marker is accidentally moved in the process of lifting the ball or marking its position. In this case the ball-marker was not moved during such process.

20-1/6

Ball-Marker Moved Accidentally by Player in Process of Marking Position of Ball

Q.A player marked the position of his ball with a coin, lifted the ball and pressed down the coin with the sole of his putter. He walked to the edge of the green and then noticed that the coin had stuck to the sole of the putter. What is the ruling?

A.In this case, the movement of the ball-marker was directly attributable to the specific act of marking the position of the ball.

Accordingly, no penalty is incurred and the ball or the ball-marker must be replaced. If the spot where the ball or the ball-marker lay is not known, it must be placed as near as possible to where it lay but not nearer the hole (Rule 20-3c).

20-1/6.5

Ball-Marker Pressed Down by Opponent

Q.In a match, the player's ball-marker on the putting green is pressed down by the opponent. Is the opponent in breach of the Rules?

A.No. Rule 18-3b does not apply to ball-markers. However, if the ball-marker were moved such that it no longer accurately marked the position of the ball, in equity (Rule 1-4), the opponent would incur a penalty of one stroke. If the opponent pressed down the ball-marker with the authority of the player and that act caused it to move, there would be no penalty to either player (see Decision 20-1/6).

20-1/7

Ball-Marker Moved by Opponent's Caddie Accidentally

Q.In match play, a player's caddie accidentally moved his opponent's ball-marker with his foot. What is the ruling?

A.In equity (Rule 1-4), the opponent must replace his ball or ball-marker as near as possible to the spot where it lay and the player incurs a penalty of one stroke. (Revised)

Related Decisions:

2-4/5 Whether Lifting Opponent's Ball-Marker Is Concession of Next Stroke.

30/5 In Four-Ball Match Player with Putt for Half Picks Up in Error at Suggestion of Opponent Based on Misunderstanding.

20-1/8

Ball-Marker Lifted by Player Who Mistakenly Believes He Has Won Hole

Q.A player, mistakenly believing he has won a hole, picks up his ball-marker. What is the ruling?

A.The player incurs a one-stroke penalty (Rule 20-1) and must replace his ball.

Related Decisions:

2-4/3 Player Lifts Ball in Mistaken Belief That Next Stroke Conceded.

2-4/3.5 Stroke Conceded by Caddie.

9-2/5 Incorrect Information Causes Opponent to Lift His Ball-Marker.

20-1/9

Ball-Marker Lifted by Outside Agency

Q.A marked the position of his ball on the putting green while a following match or group was playing through. After the following match or group had played through, A could not find his ball-marker. It apparently had been lifted by one of the players playing through. What is the ruling?

A.Under Rule 20-3c, A must place his ball as near as possible to where it lay on the green.

20-1/10 (Reserved)

20-1/10.5

Ball-Marker Moved by Wind or Casual Water During Stipulated Round

Q.During a stipulated round, a player marked the position of and lifted his ball under a Rule. Prior to the player replacing his ball, wind or casual water moved his ball-marker. What is the procedure?

A.The ball or ball-marker must be replaced without penalty. If a ball has been lifted under a Rule which requires it to be replaced, it must be placed on the spot from which it was lifted (Rule 20-3a).

20-1/11

Ball-Marker in Position to Assist Another Player

Q.A player marks the position of his ball on the putting green and the ball-marker is so located that it might be of assistance to the opponent or a fellow-competitor in lining up his putt. Accordingly, the player prepares to move his ball-marker one or two clubhead-lengths to the side, but the opponent or fellow-competitor says he wants the ball-marker left where it is. What is the ruling?

A.The player is entitled to move his ball-marker to the side. The opponent or fellow-competitor may not insist on its being left where it is in view of the purposes of Rules 8-2b and 22-1.

Related Decision:

22/6 Competitor Requests That Ball in Position to Assist Him Not Be Lifted.

20-1/12

Ball-Marker Moved Accidentally by Player After Having Moved Loose Impediments

Q.A player marked the position of his ball on the putting green with a coin and lifted the ball. He then placed his finger on the coin, while he brushed aside some loose impediments so that he did not move the coin. On lifting his finger the coin initially stuck to his finger before falling to the ground and coming to rest in a different position. What is the ruling?

A.The act of placing the finger on the coin is considered to be an extension of the marking process (see Decision 20-1/6). Therefore, as the movement of the coin was directly attributable to the specific act of marking the position of the ball, the player incurs no penalty and the ball or ball-marker must be replaced (Rule 20-1).

20-1/13

Ball Accidentally Kicked by Player Asked to Lift It Due to Interference

Q.A requests B to lift B's ball because it interferes with A's play. As B is walking up to his ball to lift it, he accidentally kicks it. What is the ruling?

A.B incurs a penalty stroke under Rule 18-2a because the movement of the ball was not directly attributable to the specific act of marking the position of or lifting the ball (see Rule 20-1). B must replace his ball. (Revised)

Related Decision:

12-1/5 Player Kicks Ball While Probing for It in Water in Water Hazard.

20-1/14

Ball Moved by Putter Dropped by Player Approaching Ball to Lift It

Q.A player, approaching his ball on the putting green to lift it, dropped his putter on his ball and moved it. Is it correct that there is no penalty in view of Rule 20-1 under which a player incurs no penalty if he accidentally moves his ball in the process of lifting it?

A.No. The player incurred a penalty stroke under Rule 18-2a because the movement of the ball was not directly attributable to the specific act of marking the position of or lifting the ball.

20-1/15

Meaning of "Directly Attributable" in Rules 20-1 and 20-3a

Q.What is meant by the phrase "directly attributable to the specific act" in Rules 20-1 and 20-3a?

A.In Rule 20-1 the phrase means the specific act of placing a ball-marker behind the ball, placing a club to the side of the ball, or lifting the ball such that the player's hand, the placement of the ball-marker or the club, or the lifting of the ball causes the ball or the ball-marker to move.

In Rule 20-3a the phrase means the specific act of placing or replacing a ball in front of a ball-marker, placing a club to the side of a ball-marker or lifting the ball-marker such that the player's hand, the placement of the ball or club, or the lifting of the ball-marker causes the ball or the ball-markerto move.

Under either Rule, any accidental movement of the ball or the ball-marker which occurs before or after this specific act, such as dropping the ball or ball-marker, regardless of the height from which it was dropped, is not considered to be "directly attributable" and would result in the player incurring a penalty stroke.

20-1/15.5

Lie Altered By Act of Marking Position of Ball

Q.A player marks the position of his ball, and as a result of the act of marking, there is a change in the lie of the ball. Is the player required to restore the lie he had before marking the position of the ball?

A.No. The act of placing a marker may result in some change in the lie of the ball, for example, from grass being depressed by the weight of the marker, or grains of sand being moved in the placement or removal of a marker. Such occurrences may improve or worsen the lie of the ball, and the player must accept the result.

If the player attempted to restore the lie under these circumstances, or if the lie was improved from actions which exceeded what was necessary to the process of marking, he would be subject to penalty under Rule 13-2.

Related Decisions:

13-2/15 Area of Intended Swing Improved by Removing Immovable Obstruction.

13-2/15.5 Position of Ball Worsened When Obstruction Removed; Player Replaces Obstruction.

20-1/16

Method Used to Mark Position of Ball

Q.The Note to Rule 20-1 provides that "the position of a ball to be lifted should be marked by placing a ball-marker, a small coin or other similar object immediately behind the ball." Is a player penalized if he uses an object that is not similar to a ball-marker or small coin to mark the position of his ball?

A.No. The provision in the Note to Rule 20-1 is a recommendation of best practice, but there is no penalty for failing to act in accordance with the Note.

Examples of methods of marking the position of a ball that are not recommended, but are permissible, are as follows:

• placing the toe of a club at the side of, or behind, the ball;

• using a tee;

• using a loose impediment;

• scratching a line, provided the putting green is not tested (Rule 16-1d) and a line for putting is not indicated (Rule 8-2b). As this practice may cause damage to the putting green, it is discouraged.

However, under Rule 20-1 it is necessary to physically mark the position of the ball. Reference to an existing mark on the ground does not constitute marking the position of a ball. For example, it is not permissible to mark the position with reference to a blemish on the putting green.

When moving a ball or ball-marker to the side to prevent it from interfering with another player's stance or stroke, the player may measure from the side of the ball or ball-marker. In order to accurately replace the ball on the spot from which it was lifted, the steps used to move the ball or ball-marker to the side should be reversed.

20-1/17

Tee Marking Position of Player's Ball Deflects Opponent's Ball

Q.In a match, B used a wooden tee to mark the position of his ball. A's ball was deflected by the tee. What is the ruling?

A.The tee was not B's equipment – see Definition of "Equipment." There is no penalty. A must play his ball as it lies.

A should have requested B to move the tee one or more clubhead-lengths to the side or to mark the position of his ball with a ball-marker, a small coin or other similar object – see Note under Rule 20-1.

20-1/18 (Reserved)

20-1/19

Placing Object Marking Position of Ball Other Than Behind Ball

Q.When marking the position of a ball, must the ball-marker be placed behind the ball, or may it also be placed to the side of or in front of the ball?

A.There is no restriction. However, if a player positions his ball-marker in front of the ball on the putting green and in the process does something to the green that improves the line of putt (e.g., presses down a raised tuft of grass), he is in breach of Rule 13-2.

Placing a ball-marker in front of the ball is not recommended but it is not a breach of Rule 16-1a because this Rule permits touching the line of putt in lifting a ball, and marking the position of the ball is part of the lifting process.

20-1/20

Player Places Ball-Marker Approximately Two Inches Behind Ball

Q.A player consistently places his ball-marker approximately two inches behind the ball on the green. He says that he does so to ensure that he does not accidentally move the ball. Does such a procedure comply with the Rules?

A.No. A player who places a ball-marker two inches behind his ball cannot be considered to have marked the position of the ball with sufficient accuracy. Accordingly, each time he does so, the player incurs a penalty of one stroke, as provided in Rule 20-1, and must place the ball as near as possible to the spot from which it was lifted (Rule 20-3c).

The player's action was unnecessary because Rule 20-1 states that no penalty is incurred if a ball is accidentally moved in the process of marking or lifting it under a Rule.

Decision related to 20-1/19 and 20-1/20:

16-1a/17 Ball Lifted on Putting Green Placed Ahead of Ball-Marker and Then Moved Back to Original Position.

20-1/21 (Reserved)

20-1/22

Knocking Ball Aside After Marking Position Instead of Lifting

Q.A player, whose ball is on the putting green, marks the position of his ball and knocks the ball aside with his putter instead of lifting it. What is the ruling?

A.Knocking the ball aside was the equivalent of lifting it under Rule 20-1. There would be no penalty unless the act was for the purpose of testing the putting surface (Rule 16-1d) or playing a practice stroke (Rule 7-2).

Other Decisions related to Rule 20-1: See "Ball Lifted" and "Marking Position of Ball" in the Index.

DROPPING AND RE-DROPPING BALL: BY WHOM AND HOW

20-2a/1 (Reserved)

20-2a/2

Spinning Ball When Dropping

Q.A player puts spin on a ball purposely when dropping it. What is the ruling?

A.The player incurs a penalty of one stroke under Rule 20-2a for dropping the ball in an improper manner, unless he corrects his mistake as permitted by Rule 20-6.

20-2a/3

Ball Dropped in Improper Manner and in Wrong Place

Q.A player obtaining relief from ground under repair dropped a ball in a manner not conforming with Rule 20-2a and in a wrong place. What is the ruling?

A.If the player corrected the errors before making his next stroke, there was no penalty – Rule 20-6.

If the player failed to correct the errors before making his next stroke:

(a) In match play, he lost the hole for playing from a wrong place – Rule 20-7b.

(b) In stroke play, he incurred a penalty of two strokes. Although the player breached both Rule 20-2a for dropping in an improper manner and Rule 25-1b by taking relief in the wrong place and then making a stroke from that wrong place, the player incurs only the two stroke penalty for playing from a wrong place (see Note 3 under Rule 20-7c).

20-2a/4

Ball Dropped in Improper Manner Moves When Addressed; Player Then Lifts Ball and Drops It in Proper Manner

Q.A player drops his ball other than in the manner prescribed in Rule 20-2a. He addresses the ball and the ball moves. He then is advised that he dropped his ball improperly. So, as permitted by Rule 20-6, he lifts the ball, drops it properly and plays. According to Rule 20-6, the player incurs no penalty for the improper drop. Does he incur a penalty stroke under Rule 18-2b because the ball moved after it was addressed, even though the ball was subsequently lifted and re-dropped?

A.Yes. The ball was in play when it was first dropped, even though it was dropped in an improper manner (Rule 20-4). When it moved after being addressed, the penalty prescribed in Rule 18-2b was applicable.

Related Decision:

29/4 Dropping Ball in Foursome Competition.

20-2a/5

Caddie Holds Back Tree Branch to Prevent Branch from Deflecting Dropped Ball

Q.May a player have his caddie hold back a tree branch that is waist high and situated at the spot at which the player wishes to drop his ball under a Rule?

If the branch is not held back, the dropped ball might lodge in the branch or, in any case, the branch will be likely to deflect the dropped ball.

A.No. Such an act would be a breach of Rule 13-2, which prohibits a player from improving the area in which he is to drop or place a ball by, among other things, moving or bending anything that is growing or fixed. The branch is part of the course in the area in which the player is to drop, and the player must accept that his ball may first strike the branch when proceeding under a Rule that requires the player to drop (see Decision 20-2c/1.3). The player would be in breach of Rule 13-2 at the moment that his caddie moves the branch. The penalty is not avoided if the branch is released prior to the player dropping the ball; the fact that the branch may return to its original location is irrelevant.

Related Decisions:

20-2b/1 Dropped Ball Never Strikes Ground.

20-2c/1.3 Dropped Ball Strikes Tree Branch Then Ground: Whether Re-Drop Required.

20-2a/6

Ball Dropped Under One Option of Unplayable Ball Rule Strikes Player; Player Wishes to Change Relief Option

Q.A player deems his ball unplayable and elects to proceed under Rule 28c, by dropping a ball within two club-lengths of the spot where it lay. The dropped ball strikes the player's foot, so he is required by Rule 20-2a to re-drop. May the player change his relief option and, for example, proceed under Rule 28b?

A.No. A player may not change his relief option when re-dropping a ball under Rule 20-2a.

Other Decisions related to whether a player may change a selected relief option after taking further action: See "Ball Dropped or Re-Dropped: changing relief option" in the Index.

20-2a/7

Whether Glove Used as Indicating Mark Is Equipment

Q.A player entitled to drop a ball marks with his glove the spot on which the ball is to be dropped or the outer limit of the area within which the ball is to be dropped. The dropped ball then strikes the glove.

If the glove is a "small object," it is not equipment of the player, and the ball would not be re-dropped. Otherwise, the glove is equipment and the ball must be re-dropped under Rule 20-2a.

What is the status of the glove?

A.A glove is not a "small object" within the meaning of that term in the Definition of "Equipment." Therefore, it is equipment and the ball must be re-dropped.

20-2a/8

Player Drops Ball to Determine Where Original Ball May Roll if Dropped

Q.A player's ball lies on an artificially-surfaced path. The player determines his nearest point of relief and measures the one club-length in which the ball may be dropped under Rule 24-2b. As the player is concerned that the ball, when dropped, may roll into an unplayable lie, he takes a ball from his bag and drops it in the area to test where his original ball may roll to if he elects to take relief from the path. He did not intend to put the second ball into play. What is the ruling?

A.As the player had no intention of putting the dropped ball into play, that ball did not become the ball in play, and his original ball on the path remained the ball in play. However, it is contrary to the purpose and spirit of the Rules for a player to test what may happen when he drops his ball. Therefore, in equity (Rule 1-4), the player incurs a penalty of loss of hole in match play or two strokes in stroke play. In stroke play, the player may play the original ball as it lies on the path or take relief under Rule 24-2.

Other Decisions related to Rule 20-2a: See "Ball Dropped or Re-Dropped: by whom and how to drop" in the Index.

WHERE TO DROP

20-2b/1

Dropped Ball Never Strikes Ground

Q.A player drops a ball where the applicable Rule requires. It lodges in a bush without striking the ground. What is the ruling?

A.The ball is in play. It struck a part of the course where required by the applicable Rule and did not roll into a position requiring it to be re-dropped under Rule 20-2c.

Related Decisions:

20-2a/5 Caddie Holds Back Tree Branch to Prevent Branch from Deflecting Dropped Ball.

20-2c/1.3 Dropped Ball Strikes Tree Branch Then Ground; Whether Re-Drop Required.

20-2b/2

Measuring Club-Lengths

In measuring a distance of one club-length or two club-lengths when proceeding under a Rule, a player is entitled to measure directly across a ditch or through a fence, a tree or a constructed wall. However, a player may not measure through a natural undulation of the ground.

Related Decision:

20/1 Club to Be Used in Measuring.

20/2 Borrowing Club for Measuring Purposes.

25-1b/15 Measuring Across Ground Under Repair in Obtaining Relief.

WHEN TO RE-DROP

20-2c/0.5

Ball Dropped from Ground Under Repair Area Rolls to Position Where Area Interferes with Stance; Whether Re-Drop Required

Q.A player's ball lies in ground under repair through the green. The player elects to take relief and drops the ball in accordance with Rule 25-1b(i). The ball remains outside the ground under repair area but it rolls to a position where the player would have to stand in the area to play his stroke. Must the player re-drop the ball?

A.Yes. The ball has rolled and come to rest "in a position where there is interference by the condition from which relief was taken" – see Rule 20-2c(v). The same applies if a player is taking relief from an immovable obstruction.

Related Decision:

3-3/12 Competitor Drops One Ball in Accordance with Two Different Rules Instead of Playing Second Ball; Dropped Ball Rolls Back into the Condition from Which Relief Taken.

20-2c/0.7

Ball Dropped from Immovable Obstruction Rolls Nearer Obstruction than Nearest Point of Relief; Whether Re-Drop Required If Player Changes Clubs and Obstruction No Longer Interferes

Q.A player's ball lies behind a tree and he would play a low shot with a 4-iron, under the tree's branches, except that a protective fence interferes with the area of his intended swing. He determines the nearest point of relief using his 4-iron and measures a one club-length area within which to drop the ball. After he drops the ball in accordance with the Rules, the ball rolls and comes to rest nearer the fence than the nearest point of relief. Therefore, there is still interference by the fence for the intended stroke with the 4-iron. However, the ball is now in a position where it would be reasonable for the player to play his next shot over the tree with a pitching-wedge, and the fence would not interfere with this stroke. May the player play the dropped ball or must it be re-dropped?

A.The ball must be re-dropped because it came to rest at a point where the player still had interference from the fence for a stroke with the club used to determine the nearest point of relief – see Rule 20-2c(v).

20-2c/0.8

Player Takes Relief from an Area of Ground Under Repair; Whether Re-Drop Required if Condition Interferes for Stroke with Club Not Used to Determine "Nearest Point of Relief"

Q.A player finds his ball in heavy rough approximately 230 yards from the green. He selects a wedge to play his next shot and finds that his stance touches a line defining an area of ground under repair. He determines the nearest point of relief and drops the ball within one club-length of this point. The ball rolls into a good lie from where he believes he can play a 3-wood for his next stroke. If the player used a wedge for his next stroke he would not have interference from the ground under repair, but adopting a normal stance with the 3-wood, he again touches the ground under repair with his foot. Must the player re-drop his ball under Rule 20-2c?

A.No. The player proceeded in accordance with Rule 25-1b by determining his nearest point of relief using the club with which he expected to play his next stroke and he would only be required to re-drop the ball under Rule 20-2c if interference still existed for a stroke with this club – see analogous Decision 20-2c/0.7.

As it was expedient for the player to play his next stroke with another club, which resulted in interference from the condition, he would have the option of playing the ball as it lies or proceeding again under Rule 25-1b.

Decision related to 20-2c/0.7 and 20-2c/0.8:

24-2b/4 Club Used to Determine Nearest Point of Relief Not Used for Next Stroke.

20-2c/1

Dropped Ball Rolling Out of Prescribed Dropping Area

Q.A player taking relief under the Rules sometimes appears to obtain more relief than he is entitled to because the relevant Rule allows him some latitude within which to drop and the dropped ball then rolls some distance from the place where it was dropped. When a Rule prescribes an area within which a ball must be dropped, e.g., within one or two club-lengths of a particular point, should it be re-dropped if it rolls outside the area so prescribed?

A.No, not necessarily. Provided the ball has been correctly dropped (Rule 20-2a) and does not roll into any of the positions listed in Rule 20-2c, it is in play and must not be re-dropped. In particular, under Rule 20-2c(vi), the ball may roll up to two club-lengths from the point where it first struck a part of the course when dropped, and this may result in its coming to rest an appreciable distance farther from the condition from which relief is being taken. For example:

(a) a ball dropped within two club-lengths of the margin of a lateral water hazard may come to rest almost four club-lengths from the hazard margin without the player being required to re-drop it under Rule 20-2c; and

(b) a ball dropped away from an immovable obstruction within one club-length of the nearest point of relief may come to rest almost three club-lengths from the nearest point of relief without the player being required to re-drop it under Rule 20-2c.

20-2c/1.3

Dropped Ball Strikes Tree Branch Then Ground; Whether Re-Drop Required

Q.A player drops a ball within the area prescribed by the applicable Rule. It bounces off a tree branch and as a result strikes the ground outside that area. What is the ruling?

A.The ball struck a part of the course (the branch) where the applicable Rule requires (Rule 20-2b). Therefore, provided it does not roll into any of the positions listed in Rule 20-2c, it is in play and must not be re-dropped. In measuring the two club-lengths to determine if a re-drop is required under Rule 20-2c(vi), the point on the ground immediately below the spot where the ball first struck a part of the course (the branch) shall be used for measuring purposes.

Related Decisions:

20-2a/5 Caddie Holds Back Tree Branch to Prevent Branch from Deflecting Dropped Ball.

20-2b/1 Dropped Ball Never Strikes Ground.

20-2c/1.5

Ball Rolls Towards Hole When Dropped at Spot from Which Previous Stroke Played

Q.A player is required or elects to play his next stroke at the spot from which his previous stroke was played. He is able to identify that specific spot by reference to the divot hole which his previous stroke made. He drops a ball immediately behind that divot hole. The ball rolls nearer the hole than the spot from which the previous stroke was played, but not more than two club-lengths from where it first struck the ground. What is the ruling?

A.Rule 20-2c(vii)(a) requires a ball to be re-dropped if it rolls and comes to rest nearer the hole than "its original position or estimated position ... unless otherwise permitted by the Rules." The original position is the spot from which the previous stroke was played. Since the dropped ball rolled nearer the hole than that spot, it must be re-dropped.

However, in many such cases the player cannot determine exactly the spot from which his previous stroke was played. In those cases, the player has satisfied the requirements of the Rule if he uses his best endeavors to estimate the spot. The estimated spot is treated as the specific spot (see Rule 20-2b) and the ball must be re-dropped if it rolls nearer the hole than the estimated spot.

The same principle applies if the spot where a ball is to be placed is not determinable and the player is required, under Rule 20-3c, to drop the ball as near as possible to the spot where it lay.

20-2c/1.7

Whether Re-Drop Required if Ball Dropped Under Rule 24-2b Rolls Nearer Hole Than Nearest Point of Relief but Not Nearer Than Where it Originally Lay

Q.A player's ball comes to rest on a cart path such that his nearest point of relief is behind the obstruction. He properly determines this point and lifts and drops the ball in accordance with Rule 24-2b. The ball rolls and comes to rest nearer the hole than the nearest point of relief, but not nearer the hole than where it lay originally on the path. Must the ball be re-dropped?

A.Yes – see Rule 20-2c(vii)(b).

20-2c/2

Ball Dropped Third Time When Placement Required After Second Drop

Q.A player dropped his ball twice under a Rule and each time the ball rolled nearer the hole. He then dropped the ball a third time instead of placing it as required by Rule 20-2c. What is the ruling?

A.Before making a stroke, the player may lift the ball and place it as prescribed in Rule 20-2c, without penalty (Rule 20-6). If he fails to do so and plays the ball, the player has played from a wrong place and has dropped the ball when it should have been placed. The player incurs a penalty of loss of hole in match play or two strokes in stroke play for playing from the wrong place (Rule 20-2c and Rule 20-7), but there is no additional penalty in stroke play for dropping the ball when Rule 20-2c required it to be placed (see Note 3 to Rule 20-7c).

Related Decisions:

18-2a/9 Ball Lifted Without Authority Dropped Instead of Being Replaced.

18-2a/21.5 Ball Moved Accidentally; Spot Where Ball Originally Lay Not Determinable; Player Places Ball Instead of Dropping It.

20-6/1 Ball Placed When Required to Be Dropped or Dropped When Required to Be Placed; Correction of Error.

20-2c/3

Placing Ball Instead of Dropping When Obvious Dropped Ball Will Roll into Hazard, Etc.

Q.A player is required to drop a ball. However, it is obvious that the ball when dropped will roll into a hazard, more than two club-lengths, etc., in which case it must be re-dropped and then placed under Rule 20-2c. In such a case, is it permissible to waive the dropping requirement and allow the player initially to place the ball?

A.No. Dropping and then re-dropping are necessary to resolve any doubt as to whether the ball will roll into a hazard, etc., and to establish the spot at which the ball must be placed, if necessary.

20-2c/3.5

Dropped Ball Comes to Rest and Then Rolls Out of Bounds

Q.A player's ball comes to rest against a boundary stake. He deems the ball unplayable and drops it within two club-lengths of where the ball originally lay, as prescribed by Rule 28c. After the ball has been at rest, it rolls and comes to rest out of bounds. What is the ruling?

A.If a dropped ball comes to rest, but subsequently moves, the ball must be played as it lies (see Note 1 to Rule 20-2). In this case the ball is out of bounds and the player must proceed under Rule 27-1. Since the ball was at rest before moving, Rule 20-2c is not applicable.

Related Decisions:

18-1/12 Ball Replaced and at Rest Is Thereafter Moved by Wind.

20-3d/1 Placed Ball Rolls into Hole.

20-4/1 Ball Replaced on Putting Green But Ball-Marker Not Removed; Ball Then Moves.

20-2c/4

Caddie Stops Dropped Ball Before It Comes to Rest; When Penalty Incurred

Q.A player's caddie deliberately stops a ball dropped by the player. What is the ruling?

A.There is no penalty if the caddie stops the ball after it has rolled to a position from which the player would be required to re-drop it under Rule 20-2c, provided it is reasonable to assume that the ball would not return to a position at which Rule 20-2c would be inapplicable.

However, if a player's caddie acts prematurely and stops a dropped ball before it has reached such a position, the player incurs a penalty of loss of hole in match play or two strokes in stroke play under Rule 1-2 (see reference to Rule 1-2 under Rule 20-2a). In stroke play, he must play the ball as it lies where it was stopped. If the ball was lifted at the time it was stopped, the ball must be replaced where it was stopped with no additional penalty. In these circumstances, the acts of stopping the ball and lifting the ball are close to one another in terms of time and there are no intervening acts. Accordingly the two acts are related acts and a single penalty (two strokes under Rule 1-2) is appropriate (see Principle 4 in Decision 1-4/12).

The same ruling would apply if the player's ball was deliberately stopped by the player, his partner, his partner's caddie or someone else authorized by the player (e.g., an opponent or fellow-competitor).

Related Decision:

1-2/5.5 Player Purposely Stops or Deflects Ball; Where Next Stroke Must Be Played from.

20-2c/5

Changing Relief Option When Re-Dropping Required

Q.A player declares his ball unplayable. Of the three options available under Rule 28, he elects Rule 28c and drops the ball within two club-lengths of the spot where it lay. The ball rolls and comes to rest nearer the hole than its original position, so the player is required by Rule 20-2c to re-drop. May the player now proceed under a different option, e.g., Rule 28b?

A.No. If the player did so, he would be in breach of Rule 20-2c. The same principles would apply when proceeding under Rule 26-1.

Other Decisions related to whether a player may change a selected relief option after taking further action: See "Ball Dropped or Re-Dropped: changing relief option" in the Index.

20-2c/6

Player's Club Strikes Immovable Obstruction During Stroke After Relief Taken

Q.A player correctly determines the nearest point of relief from an artificially-surfaced path (immovable obstruction) and drops the ball within the area prescribed by Rule 24-2b. However, when the player makes the stroke, his club strikes the path. Is he subject to penalty under Rule 20-2c for not re-dropping the ball when there was still interference by the obstruction?

A.Yes. However, there would be no penalty if the reason that the club struck the obstruction was that the limits of the obstruction were not entirely known when relief was taken (e.g., part of the path was covered with turf) or the club traveled a significantly different path than originally intended due to an unexpected occurrence (e.g., because the player's feet slipped or he was stung by a bee).

20-2c/7

Player Takes Relief from Area of Casual Water and Ball Comes to Rest in a Position Where Another Area of Casual Water Interferes; Whether Re-Drop Required

Q.Through the green, there are two areas of casual water which are close together. There is interference from one area and the player elects to take relief. He drops the ball in accordance with Rule 25-1b(i) and it rolls to a position where interference no longer exists from the first area of casual water, but there is interference from the second area. Does Rule 20-2c(v) require the player to re-drop the ball?

A.No, the ball is in play. The player may play the ball as it lies or take relief from the second area in accordance with Rule 25-1b(i).

The same procedure applies to ground under repair or a hole, cast or runway made by a burrowing animal, a reptile or a bird.

Related Decisions:

1-4/8 Nearest Point of Relief from Cart Path Is in Casual Water; Nearest Point of Relief from Casual Water Is Back on Cart Path.

24-2b/9 After Relief from Obstruction Second Obstruction Interferes.

Other Decisions related to Rule 20-2c: See "Ball Dropped or Re-Dropped: whether re-drop required" in the Index.

PLACING AND REPLACING BALL: BY WHOM AND WHERE

20-3a/0.5

Whether Player Himself Must Place or Replace Ball

Q.Rule 20-3a provides that, in some instances, a person other than the player may place or replace the player's ball. On the other hand, other Rules, e.g., Rule 12-2, state that the player must place or replace the ball. Does Rule 20-3a override other Rules that imply that the player himself must place or replace the ball?

A.Yes.

Related Decision:

20-1/0.5 Whether Player Himself Must Lift Ball.

20-3a/1

Ball Moved in Removing Ball-Marker After Replacing Ball

Q.A player replaces his ball under a Rule and, in the act of removing the object marking its position, accidentally moves the ball. What is the ruling?

A.Removal of the ball-marker is part of the replacement process. As the movement of the ball was directly attributable to the act of replacing it, under Rule 20-3a, no penalty is incurred, and the ball must be replaced. (Revised)

Related Decision:

20-1/15 Meaning of "Directly Attributable" in Rules 20-1 and 20-3a.

20-3a/2

Using Line on Ball for Alignment

Q.May a player draw a line on his ball and, when replacing his ball, position the ball so that the line or the trademark on the ball is aimed to indicate the line of play?

A.Yes.

Related Decision:

18-2a/33 Rotating Ball on Putting Green Without Marking Position.

20-3a/3

Whether Ball Must Be Replaced If Other Rule Applies

Q.If a Rule requires a ball at rest that was moved to be replaced (e.g., Rule 18-2a), must the player replace the ball if he wishes to proceed under another Rule that involves dropping or placing the ball in another place (e.g., Rule 24-2)?

A.No. If a player is proceeding under a Rule that requires him to replace the ball but another Rule applies, he may proceed directly under the other Rule. The ruling would be the same even if the original spot were not known, in which case the estimated position of the ball would be the reference point for proceeding under the other Rule.

Other Decisions related to Rule 20-3a: See "Ball Placed or Replaced" in the Index.

LIE OF BALL TO BE PLACED OR REPLACED ALTERED

20-3b/1

Lie of Lifted Ball in Bunker Altered by Another Player's Stroke

Q.The balls of A and B are in the same heel mark in a bunker. B's ball is farther from the hole. A lifts his ball under Rule 22-2, and B plays and obliterates the heel mark. What should A do?

A.Under Rule 20-3b, A is required to re-create his original lie as nearly as possible, including the heel mark, and place his ball in that lie.

20-3b/2

Lie in Bunker Changed by Another Player Taking His Stance

Q.In playing from a bunker, B, in taking his stance, pushed up a mound of sand behind A's ball, which had not been lifted. What is the ruling?

A.Since A's ball did not move when B took his stance, Rule 20-3b does not apply. In equity (Rule 1-4), A's original lie may be restored as nearly as possible by removing the mound of sand.

20-3b/3

Lie Changed by Removal of Gallery-Control Stake

Q.A ball comes to rest adjacent to a gallery-control stake. A marshal, without the sanction of the player, removes the stake and in so doing raises the turf in front of the ball without causing the ball to move. Is the player entitled to proceed under Rule 20-3b?

A.No. As the ball has not moved, Rule 20-3b does not apply.

However, as the marshal acted without the sanction of the player, if the original lie could be easily restored, in equity (Rule 1-4), the raised turf may be pressed down so that the original lie is restored as nearly as possible.

If the original lie could not be easily restored, in equity (Rule 1-4), the player may place his ball, without penalty, in the nearest lie most similar to that which it originally occupied, but not more than one club-length from the original lie, not nearer the hole and not in a hazard.

Had the player sanctioned the action of the marshal or had he removed the stake himself, he would have to accept any resultant worsening of the lie.

Decisions related to 20-3b/1 through 20-3b/3: See "Equity: player entitled to lie, line of play and stance when ball comes to rest after stroke" in the Index.

20-3b/4

Lie of Ball Through the Green Altered; Original Lie of Ball Known But Spot Where Ball Lay Not Determinable

Q.In stroke play, B plays A's ball, which was lying through the green, and in the process removes a divot. The original lie of A's ball was known and has been altered. It is impossible to determine the exact spot where A's ball originally lay. Should A proceed under Rule 20-3b or Rule 20-3c?

A.As A knew the original lie of the ball, Rule 20-3b applies (see Note to Rule 20-3b). The spot where the ball lay will need to be estimated, and a ball must be placed in the nearest lie most similar to the original lie that is not more than one club-length from the estimated spot, not nearer the hole and not in a hazard.

20-3b/5

Lie of Ball in Rough Altered by Outside Agency; Original Lie of Ball Not Known and Spot Where Ball Lay Not Determinable

Q.An outside agency accidentally steps on A's ball in tall grass through the green and presses the ball into the ground. The original lie of A's ball was not known, but the lie has clearly been altered. It is impossible to determine the spot where A's ball originally lay. Should A proceed under Rule 20-3b or Rule 20-3c?

A.As A did not know the original lie of the ball, Rule 20-3c applies and the player must drop the ball as near as possible to where it lay but not in a hazard and not on a putting green (see Note to Rule 20-3b).

20-3b/6

Lie of Ball in Bunker Altered; Original Lie of Ball Known But Spot Where Ball Lay Not Determinable

Q.At B's request, A has marked the position of and lifted his ball in a bunker under Rule 22-2 as it interfered with B's stroke. B makes his stroke and, in the process, accidentally moves A's ball-marker. The original lie of A's ball was known and has been altered. It is impossible to determine the exact spot where A's ball originally lay. Should A proceed under Rule 20-3b or Rule 20-3c?

A.As A knew the original lie of the ball, Rule 20-3b applies (see Note to Rule 20-3b). The original lie of the ball must be re-created as nearly as possible in its original spot (which will need to be estimated), and the ball must be placed in that lie.

Related Decisions:

6-8d/1 Resuming Play from Where It Was Discontinued; Lie Altered by Natural Causes.

6-8d/2 Lie in Bunker Altered Prior to Resumption of Play.

20-3b/7

Whether Original Lie May Be "Nearest Lie Most Similar"

Q.A player finds a ball he believes to be his lying in a water hazard. When he lifts the ball for identification under Rule 12-2, the original lie is altered. When proceeding under Rule 20-3b, if the altered lie is the nearest lie most similar to the original lie within one club-length of the original lie not nearer the hole and inside the water hazard, is the player required to replace the ball in the original lie in its altered condition?

A.Yes. Although in most situations the nearest most similar lie within one club-length will be located elsewhere, there may be circumstances when the nearest lie most similar to the original lie will be the original lie in its altered condition.

20-3b/8

Loose Impediment Affecting Lie of Ball Moved

Q.A's ball lies in a bunker, with a loose impediment immediately behind the ball. The ball of B, his opponent or fellow-competitor, lies near A's ball in the same bunker, but farther from the hole. B asks A to lift his ball under Rule 22-2, which A does. B's stroke moves the loose impediment that was behind A's ball. Is A's lie considered to have been altered as a result of the removal of the loose impediment, in which case Rule 20-3b would apply?

A.No. Although the loose impediment may have affected the lie of A's ball, loose impediments are not part of the lie of the ball as contemplated by Rule 20-3b. Therefore, A is not required to replace the loose impediment before his next stroke. If he did replace the loose impediment, there would be no penalty.

The same answer would apply on any part of the course.

Other Decisions related to Rule 20-3b: See "Ball Placed or Replaced: lie of ball to be replaced altered" in the Index.

REPLACING BALL: SPOT NOT DETERMINABLE

Decisions related to Rule 20-3c: See "Ball Placed or Replaced: spot not determinable" in the Index.

BALL FAILS TO COME TO REST ON SPOT

20-3d/1

Placed Ball Rolls into Hole

Q.A replaces his ball on the putting green three feet from the hole. As he is about to address the ball, it rolls into the hole. Should the ball be replaced or is A deemed to have holed out with his previous stroke?

A.The answer depends on whether the ball, when replaced, came to rest on the spot on which it was placed before it started rolling. If it did, A is deemed to have holed out with his previous stroke. If not, A is required to replace the ball (Rule 20-3d). However, if the ball had been overhanging the hole when it was lifted, the provisions of Rule 16-2 would override those of Rule 20-3d.

Related Decisions:

18-1/12 Ball Replaced and at Rest Is Thereafter Moved by Wind.

18-2a/7 Ball Moved by Wind Replaced.

20-4/1 Ball Replaced on Putting Green But Ball-Marker Not Removed; Ball Then Moves.

20-3d/2

Ball in Bunker Moves Closer to Hole When Obstruction Removed and Ball Will Not Remain at Rest When Replaced; All Other Parts of Bunker Are Nearer Hole

Q.A ball came to rest against a movable obstruction, a rake, in a bunker. When the rake was moved the ball rolled nearer the hole. According to Rule 24-1, the ball had to be replaced. Due to the slope and the fact that the sand was firm, the ball, when replaced, rolled closer to the hole.

Under Rule 20-3d, if a ball will not come to rest on the spot where it originally lay, it must be placed at the nearest spot not nearer the hole where it can be placed at rest. The spot where the ball originally lay was farther from the hole than any other part of the bunker. Thus, there was nowhere to place the ball at rest in the bunker that was not nearer the hole. What is the proper procedure if:

1. The only way the ball would remain at rest at the spot where it lay would be to press it lightly into the sand?

2. The sand is so hard that it is impossible to replace the ball?

A.There is nothing in the Rules permitting a player to press his ball lightly into the sand or ground to make it remain at rest. Accordingly, in either case, since the player could not place the ball in conformity with the Rules, he should proceed under the stroke-and-distance option of the unplayable ball Rule (Rule 28a) or, in equity (Rule 1-4), drop the ball, under penalty of one stroke, outside the bunker, keeping the point where the ball lay directly between the hole and the spot on which the ball is dropped.

The same principle would apply if a player is proceeding under any Rule and the ball will not come to rest in the bunker at a spot not nearer to the hole than the appropriate reference point.

Related Decisions:

1-2/9 Player Presses Ball into Surface of Putting Green.

Misc./2 Whether Rakes Should Be Placed in or Outside Bunkers.

20-3d/3

Ball in Rough Moves Downward When Addressed; Ball Will Not Remain at Rest When Replaced

Q.A player's ball is sitting up in the rough about three inches above the ground. He addresses the ball. It moves downward about two inches and comes to rest at Point X. The player attempts to replace the ball as required by Rule 18-2b, but the ball falls downward to Point X. Under Rule 20-3d, he again attempts to replace the ball, with the same result. The player must now place the ball at the nearest spot not nearer the hole where it can be placed at rest – Rule 20-3d.

If the nearest spot where the ball will remain at rest is Point X, must the player place the ball there, even though that point is vertically below the original lie?

A.Yes.

Related Decision:

18/1 Ball Moves Vertically Downward.

BALL IN PLAY WHEN DROPPED OR PLACED

20-4/1

Ball Replaced on Putting Green But Ball-Marker Not Removed; Ball Then Moves

Q.A player replaces his ball on the putting green but does not remove his ball-marker. Subsequently the wind moves his ball to a new position. What is the ruling?

A.Under Rule 20-4, a ball is in play when it is replaced, whether or not the object used to mark its position has been removed. Consequently the ball must be played from the new position – see Decision 18-1/12.

Related Decisions:

18-1/12 Ball Replaced and at Rest Is Thereafter Moved by Wind.

18-2a/7 Ball Moved by Wind Replaced.

20-2c/3.5 Dropped Ball Comes to Rest and Then Rolls Out of Bounds.

20-3d/1 Placed Ball Rolls into Hole.

20-4/2

Ball Lifted from Putting Green and Placed by Caddie Behind Marker

Q.A player marks the position of his ball on the putting green by placing a coin immediately behind the ball. He lifts the ball and gives it to his caddie to have it cleaned. The caddie then places the ball immediately behind the coin, i.e., not in the ball's original position. Is the ball in play when the caddie places the ball?

A.The answer depends on whether the caddie intended to put the ball into play when he placed it.

If the caddie did not place the ball with the intention of putting it into play (e.g., he positioned the ball to serve as a reference point for reading the line of putt from the other side of the hole), the ball was not in play when so placed. The ball is not considered to be in play until it is repositioned with the intention of replacing the ball as required by Rule 16-1b. If the player made a stroke with his ball while it was out of play, he would be playing a wrong ball (Rule 15-3).

If the caddie placed the ball with the intention of putting it into play, the ball is in play. If the player played the ball that was so placed, he would lose the hole in match play and in stroke play would incur a penalty of two strokes for playing from a wrong place (Rules 16-1b and 20-7). In stroke play, there would be no additional penalty for the ball having been replaced by a person not permitted to do so by Rule 20-3a (see Note 3 to Rule 20-7c).

If the caddie had placed the ball on the original spot, the presumption is that he intended to put it into play unless there is strong evidence to the contrary.

Related Decisions:

15/4 Player Lifts Ball, Sets It Aside and Plays It from Where Set Aside.

15-3b/3 Fellow-Competitor Lifts Competitor's Ball and Sets It Aside; Competitor Plays Ball from Where Set Aside.

MAKING NEXT STROKE FROM WHERE PREVIOUS STROKE MADE

20-5/1

Teed Ball Missed Then Hit Out of Bounds

Q.A player plays a stroke from a teeing ground and misses the ball. He plays a second stroke and hits the ball out of bounds. In proceeding under Rule 27-1, may he tee a ball anywhere within the teeing ground or must he drop a ball where the original ball was teed?

A.The player may tee a ball anywhere within the teeing ground.

20-5/2

Player Proceeding Under Rule 20-5 Drops Ball on Different Part of Course

Q.A player whose ball lies in, and close to the edge of, a bunker hits the ball out of bounds. When proceeding under Rule 27-1, the player drops a ball within a few inches of, and not nearer the hole than, the spot where the original ball was last played, but the ball first strikes a part of the course through the green. What is the ruling?

A.Under Rule 20-6 the player must correct his error by dropping a ball so that, when dropped, it first strikes the bunker (Rule 20-5). If he fails to do so and plays the dropped ball, he has played from a wrong place (Rules 20-7 and 27-1).

Other Decisions related to Rule 20-5: See "Stroke and Distance" and "Stroke Canceled or Recalled" in the Index.

LIFTING BALL WRONGLY DROPPED OR PLACED

20-6/1

Ball Placed When Required to Be Dropped or Dropped When Required to Be Placed; Correction of Error

Q.A player placed a ball when he should have dropped it or dropped it when he should have placed it. Before playing a stroke, may the player lift the ball, without penalty, under Rule 20-6 and proceed correctly?

A.Yes. Otherwise the player would lose the hole in match play or incur a penalty of two strokes in stroke play for a breach of the applicable Rule.

Related Decisions:

18-2a/9 Ball Lifted Without Authority Dropped Instead of Being Replaced.

18-2a/21.5 Ball Moved Accidentally; Spot Where Ball Originally Lay Not Determinable; Player Places Ball Instead of Dropping It.

20-2c/2 Ball Dropped Third Time When Placement Required After Second Drop.

20-6/2

Changing Relief Option After Ball Dropped in a Wrong Place

Q.A player deems his ball unplayable and elects to take relief under Rule 28c. He drops the ball in a wrong place and is advised of this fact. He then lifts his ball under Rule 20-6 and states that he wishes to proceed under Rule 28b. Is the player entitled to proceed under Rule 28b?

A.Yes. Decisions 20-2a/6 and 20-2c/5 suggest a different conclusion. However, in those cases Rules 20-2a and 20-2c are invoked and those Rules imply that a ball to be re-dropped must be re-dropped under the option originally invoked.

Other Decisions related to whether a player may change a selected relief option after taking further action: See "Ball Dropped or Re-Dropped: changing relief option" in the Index.

20-6/3

Ball Mistakenly Substituted When Dropped; Correction of Error

Q.A player's ball lies on a paved cart path. In taking relief from the obstruction, he mistakenly drops a ball other than the original ball. He discovers his error before making his next stroke. How should he proceed?

A.The player is not entitled to substitute a ball when proceeding under Rule 24-2b, unless the ball is not immediately recoverable. Under Rule 20-6, the player must correct his error by dropping the original ball in accordance with the Rules. If he fails to do so and plays the substituted ball, he incurs the general penalty for a breach of Rule 24-2b – see Rule 15-2.

Related Decisions:

15-2/2 Player Mistakenly Substitutes Another Ball on Putting Green; Error Discovered Before Stroke Played.

20-1/5 Competitor's Ball Lifted Without Authority by Fellow-Competitor's Caddie Who Subsequently Substitutes Another Ball Which Competitor Plays.

20-6/4

Substituting Ball When Re-Dropping

Q.In taking relief from a water hazard, a player drops a ball in a wrong place but realizes his error before playing it. When he corrects the error under Rule 20-6, may he drop a different ball than the one originally dropped?

A.Yes. When correcting the error under Rule 20-6, the player is proceeding under the original Rule, in this case Rule 26-1. As the player is proceeding under a Rule that allows substitution (Rule 26-1), he may substitute balls. If he had been proceeding under a Rule that did not allow substitution (e.g., Rule 24-2b), he would have been required to drop the original ball, unless that ball is not immediately recoverable.

A player re-dropping a ball under Rule 20-2c may not substitute balls unless the ball that was originally dropped is not immediately recoverable.

20-6/5

Player Drops Ball Under Rules and Then Wishes to Replace Ball in Original Position

Q.A player's ball lies under a tree. The player deems the ball unplayable and drops a ball three club-lengths from where the ball originally lay. Before playing, he is informed that he dropped the ball in a wrong place. The player lifts the dropped ball under Rule 20-6 and realizes that, if he drops the ball within two club-lengths of the spot where the ball originally lay, it is likely to be unplayable. May the player replace the ball in its original position, incurring a penalty stroke under Rule 18-2a?

A.No. Once the player has put a ball into play under an applicable Rule, he must continue to proceed under that Rule until he has correctly put a ball into play. In this case, the player may change options under Rule 28 when correcting the error of dropping a ball in a wrong place (see Decision 20-6/2), but he may not proceed under another Rule or replace the ball in its original position.

After lifting a ball, a player is entitled to replace it in its original position only if he has not yet put it back into play under an applicable Rule. However, in that case, the player may incur a penalty of one stroke under Rule 18-2a for having lifted his ball without authority (see Decision 18-2a/12).

Related Decisions:

20-7/2 Ball Deemed Unplayable in Water Hazard Is Dropped in Hazard and Played.

25-1b/26 Player Unaware Ball in Water Hazard Takes Relief from Interference by Burrowing Animal Hole.

Other Decisions related to whether a player may change a selected relief option after taking further action: See "Ball Dropped or Re-Dropped: changing relief option" in the Index.

PLAYING FROM WRONG PLACE: GENERAL

20-7/1

Ball Played from Spot Where Original Ball Deflected Out of Bounds by Maintenance Vehicle

Q.A player's tee shot travels about 175 yards and, while still in motion, is deflected out of bounds by a golf course maintenance vehicle. The player, claiming the vehicle should not have been there, dropped a ball near the spot where the vehicle deflected the original ball, completed play of the hole and stated that he had incurred no penalty. Was the player correct?

A.No. A maintenance vehicle is an outside agency. The original ball would have been played as it lay, without penalty, if it had been in bounds – Rule 19-1. Since the ball was out of bounds, the player was obliged to proceed under Rule 27-1.

The player, in dropping a ball near where the original ball was deflected and playing it, played from a wrong place.

In match play, he incurred a penalty of loss of hole – Rule 20-7b.

In stroke play, he incurred the stroke-and-distance penalty prescribed by Rule 27-1 and an additional penalty of two strokes for a breach of that Rule. Since the breach was a serious one, he was subject to disqualification unless he corrected the error as prescribed in the second paragraph of Rule 20-7c.

20-7/2

Ball Deemed Unplayable in Water Hazard Is Dropped in Hazard and Played

Q.On the 7th hole a player deems his ball unplayable in a water hazard and, thinking that Rule 28b or c is applicable, drops the ball in the water hazard and plays it. What is the ruling?

A.Rule 28 does not apply when the player's ball lies in a water hazard. As Rule 26-1 was the Rule applicable to the player's situation, he is considered to have played from a wrong place under that Rule.

In match play, the player loses the hole (Rule 20-7b).

In stroke play, if a serious breach of the water hazard Rule was not involved, the player, in addition to incurring the penalty stroke provided for in Rule 26-1, incurs a two-stroke penalty for playing from a wrong place and must play out the hole with the ball played from within the water hazard – see first paragraph of Rule 20-7c and Rule 26-1.

In stroke play, if a serious breach of the water hazard Rule was involved, before playing from the next teeing ground, the player must either (1) place a ball on the spot where the original ball originally lay in the water hazard, with a one-stroke penalty under Rule 18-2a, or (2) play a ball in accordance with Rule 26-1; in either case the player would add two penalty strokes to the score with that ball (Rule 20-7c). If the player fails to correct the mistake, he is disqualified – see second and third paragraphs of Rule 20-7c.

Related Decisions:

18-2a/12 Player Entitled to Relief from Condition Lifts Ball; Player Then Replaces Ball and Plays It from Original Position.

20-6/5 Player Drops Ball Under Rules and Then Wishes to Replace Ball in Original Position.

25-1b/26 Player Unaware Ball in Water Hazard Takes Relief from Interference by Burrowing Animal Hole.

34-3/6 Player Proceeds Under an Inapplicable Rule; Committee's Decision.

20-7/2.5

Ball Deemed Unplayable in Water Hazard; Another Ball Is Dropped in Hazard But Player Realizes Error Before Playing

Q.A player deems his ball unplayable in a water hazard, does not lift the ball and drops another ball in the water hazard, thinking that Rule 28b or c is applicable. He realizes his error before playing the dropped ball. What is the ruling?

A.When the player dropped a ball under Rule 28, he proceeded under an inapplicable Rule. Under Rule 20-6 he must abandon the dropped ball and, without penalty, play the original ball or, under penalty of one stroke, proceed under the water hazard Rule (Rule 26-1) with respect to the original ball.

20-7/3

Whether Player May Drop Ball into Area from Which Play Prohibited

Q.In proceeding under a Rule, a player wishes to drop a ball on a part of the course from which play is prohibited (e.g., a wrong putting green or an area of ground under repair from which play is prohibited). Is this permissible?

A.Yes. There is nothing in the Rules to prohibit a player from dropping a ball on a part of the course from which play is prohibited. However, the player must then take relief as prescribed by the applicable Rule. He would be penalized if he played the ball from such an area.

Related Decision:

25-1b/14.5 Ball Deemed Unplayable Dropped in Ground Under Repair from Which Play Prohibited; Ball Then Dropped Under Ground Under Repair Rule.

PLAYING FROM WRONG PLACE IN STROKE PLAY

20-7c/1

Ball Replaced at Wrong Place on Putting Green and Holed

Q.In stroke play, a competitor in replacing his ball on the putting green inadvertently put the ball in a wrong place nearby and holed out. The error was then discovered and the competitor put his ball in the right place and holed out. What is the ruling?

A.Provided that the competitor had not committed a serious breach, the score with the ball played from the wrong place counts and the competitor must add two penalty strokes to that score (Rule 16-1b or 20-3a and 20-7c).

The competitor incurs no penalty for having putted from the right place after holing out from the wrong place. (Revised)

20-7c/2

Ball Putted from Wrong Place Lifted and Putted from Right Place

Q.In stroke play, A mistakenly replaced his ball in front of B's ball-marker (which was near A's ball-marker) and putted. The ball came to rest about one foot from the hole. The error was then discovered and A lifted his ball without marking its position, placed it in front of his own ball-marker and finished the hole. What is the ruling?

A.When A replaced his ball in front of B's ball-marker and putted, he played from a wrong place and incurred a penalty of two strokes; the ball was in play (Rule 20-7c).

When A then lifted his ball from where it lay about one foot from the hole without marking its position and did not replace it, he incurred the general penalty (two strokes) for a breach of Rule 20-1 – see second paragraph of Rule 20-1.

Thus, A incurred a total penalty of four strokes.

20-7c/3

Ball Believed to Be Lost in Bunker; Competitor Drops Another Ball in Bunker and Plays It; Original Ball Then Found Outside Bunker

Q.In stroke play, A played a long shot to the green and the ball appeared to have come to rest in a bunker beside the green. The ball was not found in the bunker. A dropped a ball in the bunker and played it onto the green. A then discovered his original ball behind the green. What is the ruling?

A.When A dropped another ball in the bunker, it became the ball in play under penalty of stroke and distance and the original ball was lost – see Definition of "Lost Ball."

Since the place where the ball was dropped and played from was well in advance of the spot from which the original ball was last played, A was guilty of a serious breach of the relevant Rule (Rule 27-1) in failing to go back to that spot. He should have been disqualified unless he rectified the breach as prescribed in Rule 20-7c, in which case he would have incurred an additional penalty of two strokes.

Related Decisions:

15/13 Stray Ball Dropped Under Unplayable Ball Rule But Not Played.

15/14 Ball in Bunker Deemed Unplayable, Dropped in Bunker and Played; Ball Then Discovered to Be Stray Ball.

28/14 Stray Ball Deemed Unplayable Played Under Stroke-and-Distance Procedure; Original Ball Then Found.

28/15 Stray Ball Deemed Unplayable, Dropped Within Two Club-Lengths and Played Before Error Discovered.

20-7c/4

Competitor's Ball Played by Fellow-Competitor; Competitor Substitutes Another Ball at Wrong Place, Plays It and Then Abandons It and Plays Out Original Ball from Right Place

Q.In stroke play, A, B and C hit their tee shots into the same area. After B and C have played their second shots, A discovers that the remaining ball is not his and, although it is clear that either B or C has played his ball, A assumes that his ball has been played by B. The final paragraph of Rule 15-3b requires A to place a ball on the spot from which his ball was played. A places another ball on the spot from which B played his second shot and plays it to the green. There it is discovered that it was C, not B, who wrongly played A's ball and that A has therefore played the substituted ball from a wrong place. A accepts a two-stroke penalty under the applicable Rule (Rules 15-3b and 20-7c), but he then abandons the substituted ball, thinking he must correct his error. A picks up his original ball, goes back to the spot where C played his second shot, plays it from there onto the putting green and takes two putts to hole out. A then drives from the next tee. What is the ruling, and what did A score on the hole?

A.A's procedure was correct up to the point he abandoned the substituted ball. It is a question of fact who actually played A's ball, and this fact was something that A could have determined prior to playing the substituted ball. The substituted ball, albeit played from a wrong place, was now A's ball in play, and his original ball was out of play. As A's breach was not serious, he was not required to correct the error of playing from a wrong place. Instead of abandoning the substituted ball, A should have played out the hole with it (Rule 13-1) in accordance with Rule 20-7c, adding to his score the two-stroke penalty he had correctly accepted under Rule 15-3b.

When A went back and played his original ball from the right place (i.e., from where C had wrongly played it), he was substituting a ball for his ball in play in breach of Rule 15-2 as well as playing from the wrong place. Therefore, he incurred an additional penalty of two strokes (Rules 13-1, 15-2 and 20-7c) for a total of four penalty strokes. A's score for the hole was 9.

Related Decisions:

15/8 Ball Played Under Rule for Ball Lost in Ground Under Repair After Another Ball Played Under Stroke-and-Distance Procedure.

18-2a/8.5 Ball Played from Ground Under Repair Abandoned and Relief Taken Under Ground Under Repair Rule.

25-1c/2 Ball Dropped and Played Under Ground Under Repair Rule in Absence of Knowledge or Virtual Certainty That Original Ball in Ground Under Repair.

20-7c/5

Competitor Plays Second Ball Under Rule 20-7c; Clarification of "Penalty Strokes Incurred Solely by Playing the Ball Ruled Not to Count"

Note 2 under Rule 20-7c permits a player who has played a second ball to disregard penalty strokes incurred solely in playing a ball ruled not to count, such as accidentally causing the ball to move (Rule 18-2a) or proceeding under the water hazard Rule (Rule 26-1). However, a player cannot disregard a breach of the Rules which might apply to either ball, such as a breach of the practice Rule (Rule 7-2), the advice Rule (Rule 8-1) or playing a wrong ball (Rule 15-3).

Related Decisions:

15/7 Wrong Ball Played in Belief It Is Provisional or Second Ball.

27-2c/4 Original Ball and Provisional Ball Found Out of Bounds.

20-7c/6

Ball in Bunker Played by Another Player; Ball Not Replaced by Player

Q.In stroke play, A's ball in a bunker was played by his fellow-competitor, B. B failed to get the ball out of the bunker and then discovered he had played a wrong ball. A played his ball from the spot to which B had played it and then learned that he should have replaced his ball. What is the ruling?

A.Rule 15-3b required A to replace his ball. A played from a wrong place (Rules 15-3b and 20-7) incurring a penalty of two strokes when he made a stroke with his ball from the spot to which it had been played by B. Provided A's breach was not serious, he must play out the hole with the ball played from the wrong place.

B incurred a two-stroke penalty under Rule 15-3b and must correct his error.

Other Decisions related to Rule 20-7: See "Wrong Place" and "Serious Breach of Rules: playing from wrong place" in the Index.

Rules

Decisions

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