Rule 9 - Ball Played as It Lies; Ball at Rest Lifted or Moved

Purpose of Rule: Rule 9 covers a central principle of the game: “play the ball as it lies.”

9.1  Ball Played as It Lies

a. Playing Your Ball from Where It Came to Rest

You must play your ball at rest on the courseCourse: The entire area of play within the edge of any boundaries set by the Committee. The boundary edge extends both up above the ground and down below the ground. as it lies, except when the Rules require or allow you:

b. What to Do When Your Ball Moves During Backswing or Stroke

If your ball at rest begins moving after you have begun the strokeStroke: The forward movement of your club made to strike the ball. or the backswing for a strokeStroke: The forward movement of your club made to strike the ball. and you go on to make the strokeStroke: The forward movement of your club made to strike the ball.:

Penalty for Playing Incorrectly SubstitutedSubstitute: To change the ball you are using to play a hole by having another ball become your ball in play. Ball or Playing Ball from a Wrong PlaceWrong Place: Any place on the course other than where you are required or allowed to play your ball under the Rules. in Breach of Rule 9.1: General PenaltyGeneral Penalty: Loss of hole in match play or two penalty strokes in stroke play..

9.2  Deciding Whether Your Ball Moved and What Caused It to Move

a. Deciding Whether Your Ball Moved

Your ball at rest is treated as having movedMoved: When your ball at rest has left its original spot and come to rest on any other spot, and this can be seen by the naked eye (whether or not anyone actually sees it do so). only if 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 did.

If your ball might have movedMoved: When your ball at rest has left its original spot and come to rest on any other spot, and this can be seen by the naked eye (whether or not anyone actually sees it do so). but this 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., it is treated as not having movedMoved: When your ball at rest has left its original spot and come to rest on any other spot, and this can be seen by the naked eye (whether or not anyone actually sees it do so). and you must play it as it lies.

b. Deciding What Caused Your Ball to Move

The Rules recognize only four possible causes for your ball at rest to moveMoved: When your ball at rest has left its original spot and come to rest on any other spot, and this can be seen by the naked eye (whether or not anyone actually sees it do so). before you make a strokeStroke: The forward movement of your club made to strike the ball.:

You, your opponentOpponent: The person you compete against in a match. The term opponent applies only in match play. or an outside influenceOutside Influence: Any of these people or things that can affect what happens to your ball or equipment or to the course: are treated as having caused the ball to moveMoved: When your ball at rest has left its original spot and come to rest on any other spot, and this can be seen by the naked eye (whether or not anyone actually sees it do so). only if 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. to be the case. If not, the ball is treated as having been movedMoved: When your ball at rest has left its original spot and come to rest on any other spot, and this can be seen by the naked eye (whether or not anyone actually sees it do so). by natural forcesNatural Forces: The effects of nature such as wind, water or when something happens for no apparent reason because of the effects of gravity..

9.3  Ball Moved by Natural Forces

If natural forcesNatural Forces: The effects of nature such as wind, water or when something happens for no apparent reason because of the effects of gravity. (such as wind or water) cause your ball at rest to moveMoved: When your ball at rest has left its original spot and come to rest on any other spot, and this can be seen by the naked eye (whether or not anyone actually sees it do so)., there is no penalty, and your ball must be played from its new spot.

Exception – If your ball on the putting greenPutting Green: The area on the hole you are playing that is specially prepared for putting, or the Committee has defined as the putting green (such as when a temporary green is used). movesMoved: When your ball at rest has left its original spot and come to rest on any other spot, and this can be seen by the naked eye (whether or not anyone actually sees it do so). after you have already lifted and replacedReplace: To place a ball by setting it down and letting it go, with the intent for it to be in play. it, the ball must be replacedReplace: To place a ball by setting it down and letting it go, with the intent for it to be in play. on its original spot (which if not known must be estimated).

Penalty for Playing Incorrectly SubstitutedSubstitute: To change the ball you are using to play a hole by having another ball become your ball in play. Ball or Playing Ball from a Wrong PlaceReplace: To place a ball by setting it down and letting it go, with the intent for it to be in play. in Breach of Rule 9.3: General PenaltyGeneral Penalty: Loss of hole in match play or two penalty strokes in stroke play..

9.4  Ball Lifted or Moved by You

a. When Lifted or Moved Ball Must Be Replaced

If you or your caddieCaddie: Someone who helps you during a round to carry, transport or handle your clubs and/or give you advice. A caddie may also help you in other ways allowed by the Rules (see Rule 10.3b). lift your ball at rest or cause it to moveMoved: When your ball at rest has left its original spot and come to rest on any other spot, and this can be seen by the naked eye (whether or not anyone actually sees it do so)., your ball must be replacedReplace: To place a ball by setting it down and letting it go, with the intent for it to be in play. on its original spot (which if not known must be estimated), except:

b. Penalty for Lifting or Deliberately Touching Your Ball or Causing It to Move

If you lift or deliberately touch your ball at rest or cause it to moveMoved: When your ball at rest has left its original spot and come to rest on any other spot, and this can be seen by the naked eye (whether or not anyone actually sees it do so)., you get one penalty stroke.

But there are four exceptions where you get no penalty for doing so:

Exception 1 – When You are Allowed to Lift or Move Ball.

Exception 2 – Accidental Movement Before Ball Is Found.

Exception 3 – Accidental Movement on Putting Green.

Exception 4 – Accidental Movement Anywhere Except on Putting Green While Applying Rule.

 For further explanation of these Exceptions.

Penalty for Playing Incorrectly SubstitutedSubstitute: To change the ball you are using to play a hole by having another ball become your ball in play. Ball or Playing Ball from a Wrong PlaceWrong Place: Any place on the course other than where you are required or allowed to play your ball under the Rules. in Breach of Rule 9.4: General PenaltyGeneral Penalty: Loss of hole in match play or two penalty strokes in stroke play..

9.5  Ball Lifted or Moved by Your Opponent in Match Play

 For information on when your ball is lifted or moved by your opponent in match play.

9.6  Ball Lifted or Moved by Outside Influence

If 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 an outside influenceOutside Influence: Any of these people or things that can affect what happens to your ball or equipment or to the course: lifted or moved your ball there is no penalty. The ball must be replaced on its original spot (which if not known must be estimated).

Penalty for Playing Incorrectly SubstitutedSubstitute: To change the ball you are using to play a hole by having another ball become your ball in play. Ball or Playing Ball from a Wrong PlaceWrong Place: Any place on the course other than where you are required or allowed to play your ball under the Rules. in Breach of Rule 9.6: General PenaltyGeneral Penalty: Loss of hole in match play or two penalty strokes in stroke play..

9.7  Ball-Marker Lifted or Moved

a. Ball or Ball-Marker Must Be Replaced

If your ball-markerBall-Marker: An artificial object when used to mark the spot of your ball to be lifted, such as a tee, a coin, an object made to be a ball-marker or another small piece of equipment. is lifted or moved in any way (including by natural forcesNatural Forces: The effects of nature such as wind, water or when something happens for no apparent reason because of the effects of gravity.) before your ball is replacedReplace: To place a ball by setting it down and letting it go, with the intent for it to be in play., you must either:

b. Penalty for Lifting Ball-Marker or Causing It to Move

Before your ball is replacedReplace: To place a ball by setting it down and letting it go, with the intent for it to be in play., if you lift your ball-markerBall-Marker: An artificial object when used to mark the spot of your ball to be lifted, such as a tee, a coin, an object made to be a ball-marker or another small piece of equipment. or cause it to move, you get one penalty stroke. If your opponentOpponent: The person you compete against in a match. The term opponent applies only in match play. does so, he or she gets one penalty stroke.

Exception - Rule 9.4b and Rule 9.5b Exceptions Apply to Lifting Ball-Marker or Causing It to Move

Penalty for Playing Incorrectly SubstitutedSubstitute: To change the ball you are using to play a hole by having another ball become your ball in play. Ball or Playing Ball from a Wrong PlaceWrong Place: Any place on the course other than where you are required or allowed to play your ball under the Rules. in Breach of Rule 9.7: General PenaltyGeneral Penalty: Loss of hole in match play or two penalty strokes in stroke play..