Rule 17 - Penalty Areas

Purpose of Rule: Rule 17 is a specific Rule for penalty areas, which are bodies of water or other areas defined by the Committee where a ball is often lost or unable to be played. For one penalty stroke, you may use specific relief options to play a ball from outside the penalty area.

17.1  Options for Your Ball in Penalty Area

Penalty areasPenalty Area: An area from which relief with a one-stroke penalty is allowed if your ball comes to rest there. are defined as either red or yellow. This affects your relief options (see Rule 17.1d).

You may stand in a penalty areaPenalty Area: An area from which relief with a one-stroke penalty is allowed if your ball comes to rest there. to play a ball outside the penalty areaPenalty Area: An area from which relief with a one-stroke penalty is allowed if your ball comes to rest there., including after taking relief from the penalty areaPenalty Area: An area from which relief with a one-stroke penalty is allowed if your ball comes to rest there..

a. When Your Ball Is in Penalty Area

Your ball is in a penalty areaPenalty Area: An area from which relief with a one-stroke penalty is allowed if your ball comes to rest there. when any part of it lies on or touches the ground or anything else inside the edge of the penalty areaPenalty Area: An area from which relief with a one-stroke penalty is allowed if your ball comes to rest there., or is above the edge or any other part of the penalty areaPenalty Area: An area from which relief with a one-stroke penalty is allowed if your ball comes to rest there..

b. You May Play Ball as It Lies in Penalty Area or Take Penalty Relief

You may either play the ball as it lies without penalty or play a ball from outside the penalty areaPenalty Area: An area from which relief with a one-stroke penalty is allowed if your ball comes to rest there. by taking penalty relief.

Exception – Relief Must Be Taken from Interference by No Play Zone in Penalty Area.

c. Relief for Your Ball Not Found but in Penalty Area

If your ball has not been found and it is known or virtually certainKnown or Virtually Certain: The standard for deciding what happened to your ball – for example, whether your ball came to rest in a penalty area, whether it moved or what caused it to move. that it came to rest in a penalty areaPenalty Area: An area from which relief with a one-stroke penalty is allowed if your ball comes to rest there. you may take penalty relief under this Rule.

But if it is not known or virtually certainKnown or Virtually Certain: The standard for deciding what happened to your ball – for example, whether your ball came to rest in a penalty area, whether it moved or what caused it to move. that your ball came to rest in a penalty areaPenalty Area: An area from which relief with a one-stroke penalty is allowed if your ball comes to rest there. and the ball is lostLost: The status of a ball that is not found in three minutes after you or your caddie (or your partner or partner’scaddie) begin to search for it., you must take stroke-and-distanceStroke and Distance: The procedure and penalty when you take relief under Rules 17, 18 or 19 by playing a ball from where your previous stroke was made (see Rule 14.6). relief.

d. Relief for Your Ball in Penalty Area

You have the relief options shown in Diagram #1 17.1d (relief for yellow penalty areaPenalty Area: An area from which relief with a one-stroke penalty is allowed if your ball comes to rest there.) and Diagram #2 17.1d (relief for red penalty areaPenalty Area: An area from which relief with a one-stroke penalty is allowed if your ball comes to rest there.), each for one penalty stroke.

e. Relief Must Be Taken from Interference by No Play Zone in Penalty Area

In each of these situations, your ball must not be played as it lies:

 For an explanation of the relief procedure for a no play zone in a penalty area.

17.2  Options After Playing Your Ball from Penalty Area

a. When Your Ball Played from Penalty Area Comes to Rest in Same or Another Penalty Area

If your ball played from a penalty areaPenalty Area: An area from which relief with a one-stroke penalty is allowed if your ball comes to rest there. comes to rest in the same penalty areaPenalty Area: An area from which relief with a one-stroke penalty is allowed if your ball comes to rest there. or another penalty areaPenalty Area: An area from which relief with a one-stroke penalty is allowed if your ball comes to rest there., you may play the ball as it lies.

Or, for one penalty stroke, you have the relief options shown in Diagram #1 17.2a and Diagram #2 17.2a.

b. When Your Ball Played from Penalty Area Is Lost, Out of Bounds or Unplayable Outside Penalty Area

 For information on how to take relief when your ball played from a penalty area is lost, out of bounds or unplayable outside a penalty area.

17.3  No Relief Under Other Rules for Your Ball in Penalty Area

When your ball is in a penalty areaPenalty Area: An area from which relief with a one-stroke penalty is allowed if your ball comes to rest there., there is no relief for interference by an abnormal course conditionAbnormal Course Condition: An animal hole, ground under repair, an immovable obstruction, or temporary water. (Rule 16.1), an embeddedEmbedded: When your ball is in its own pitch-mark made as a result of your previous stroke and where part of the ball is below the level of the ground. Your ball does not necessarily have to touch soil to be embedded (for example, grass and loose impediments may be between your ball and the soil). ball (Rule 16.3), or an unplayable ball (Rule 19).

Your only relief option is to take penalty relief under Rule 17.