Removing Paint from Ball
Q.Paint has been used to mark lines on the ground for defining ground under repair. A ball lands on such a line and some paint adheres to the ball. May the player remove the paint?
A.No, unless the ball is in a position from which it may be lifted under the Rules and cleaned under Rule 21, in which case the player may attempt to remove the paint.
• 24-2b/20 Interference by Line or Mark on Ground Consisting of Lime or Paint.
Removing Grass Adhering to Ball
Q.Through the green, is it permissible to remove cut grass adhering to a ball?
A.No. Such action is prohibited by Rule 21. Anything adhering to a ball is not a loose impediment – see Definition of "Loose Impediments."
• 23-1/5 Removal of Insect on Ball.
Whether Ball Cleaned Through Act of Caddie Throwing It to Player
Q.A player is asked to lift his ball, which is lying through the green or in a hazard, because the ball interferes with the play of another player. The player authorizes the caddie to lift the ball and, having marked its position and lifted the ball, the caddie throws the ball to the player who catches it. Except when the ball lies on the putting green, it is not permissible to clean a ball lifted because of interference. Does the act of throwing and catching the ball constitute cleaning it?
A.Whether the ball is cleaned is a question of fact. The action described could result in a ball being cleaned. Any doubt should be resolved against the player.
Position of Ball Lifted for Identification Not Marked, Intention to Lift Not Announced and Ball Cleaned Beyond Extent Necessary to Identify It
Q.A player lifted his ball for identification purposes without announcing his intention to his opponent, marker or a fellow-competitor. Thus, he was in breach of Rule 12-2. He also failed to mark the position of the ball before he lifted it in breach of Rule 20-1 and cleaned the ball more than was necessary for it to be identified, a breach of Rule 21. The penalty for breach of each of these Rules is one stroke. Does the player incur a penalty of three strokes?
A.No. The player incurs a penalty of one stroke for failing to act in accordance with Rule 12-2. An additional penalty under Rule 20-1 or Rule 21 is not justified – see Rule 12-2 and Exception under Rule 21.
Other Decisions related to whether multiple penalties apply: See "Multiple Penalty Situations" in the Index.
Player Lifts Ball Under Rule Not Permitting Cleaning and Rotates It When Replaced
Q.A piece of mud adheres to a player's ball. The player lifts the ball under a Rule which does not permit cleaning. When he replaces the ball, may he place it facing another direction so that the mud would not interfere between the clubface and the ball?
A.Yes, provided the ball is replaced on the spot from which it was lifted. However, if the player rotated the ball in such a way so as to "tee" it on the mud, he would be in breach of Rule 20-3a.
Other Decisions related to Rule 21: See "Cleaning Ball" in the Index.