Rule 11 - Ball in Motion Accidentally Hits Person, Animal or Object; Deliberate Actions to Affect Ball in Motion

Purpose of Rule: Rule 11 covers what to do if the player’s ball in motion hits a person, animal, equipment or anything else on the course. When this happens accidentally, there is no penalty and the player normally must accept the result, whether favourable or not, and play the ball from where it comes to rest. Rule 11 also restricts a player from deliberately taking actions to affect where any ball in motion might come to rest.

This Rule applies any time a ball in playIn Play: The status of a player’s ball when it lies on the course and is being used in the play of a hole: is in motion (whether after a strokeStroke: The forward movement of the club made to strike the ball. or otherwise), except when a ball has been droppedDrop: To hold the ball and let go of it so that it falls through the air, with the intent for the ball to be in play. in a relief areaRelief Area: The area where a player must drop a ball when taking relief under a Rule. Each relief Rule requires the player to use a specific relief area whose size and location are based on these three factors: and has not yet come to rest. That situation is covered by Rule 14.3.

11.1  Ball in Motion Accidentally Hits Person or Outside Influence

a. No Penalty to Any Player

If a player’s ball in motion accidentally hits any person or outside influenceOutside Influence: Any of these people or things that can affect what happens to a player’s ball or equipment or to the course::

Exception – Ball Played on Putting Green in Stroke Play: If the player’s ball in motion hits another ball at rest on the putting greenPutting Green: The area on the hole the player is playing that: and both balls were on the putting greenPutting Green: The area on the hole the player is playing that: before the strokeStroke: The forward movement of the club made to strike the ball., the player gets the general penaltyGeneral Penalty: Loss of hole in match play or two penalty strokes in stroke play. (two penalty strokes).

b. Ball Must Be Played as It Lies

If a player’s ball in motion accidentally hits any person or outside influenceOutside Influence: Any of these people or things that can affect what happens to a player’s ball or equipment or to the course:, the ball must be played as it lies, except in two situations:

Exception 1 – When Ball Played from Anywhere Except Putting Green Comes to Rest on Any Person, Animal or Moving Outside Influence: The player must not play the ball as it lies. Instead, the player must take relief:

Exception 2 – When Ball Played from Putting Green Accidentally Hits Any Person, Animal or Movable Obstruction (Including Another Ball in Motion) on Putting Green: The strokeStroke: The forward movement of the club made to strike the ball. does not count and the original ball or another 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) (see Rule 14.2), except in these two cases:

[Clarification Available →]

Penalty for Playing Incorrectly SubstitutedSubstitute: To change the ball the player is using to play a hole by having another ball become the ball in play. Ball or Playing Ball from a Wrong PlaceWrong Place: Any place on the course other than where the player is required or allowed to play his or her ball under the Rules. in Breach of Rule 11.1: General PenaltyGeneral Penalty: Loss of hole in match play or two penalty strokes in stroke play. under Rule 6.3b or 14.7a.

If multiple Rule breaches result from a single act or related acts, see Rule 1.3c(4).

11.2  Ball in Motion Deliberately Deflected or Stopped by Person

a. When Rule 11.2 Applies

This Rule applies only when it is known or virtually certainKnown or Virtually Certain: The standard for deciding what happened to a player’s ball – for example, whether the ball came to rest in a penalty area, whether it moved or what caused it to move. that a player’s ball in motion was deliberately deflected or stopped by a person, which is when:

Exception – Ball Deliberately Deflected or Stopped in Match Play When No Reasonable Chance It Can Be Holed: An opponent’sOpponent: The person a player competes against in a match. The term opponent applies only in match play. ball in motion that is deliberately deflected or stopped at a time when there is no reasonable chance it can be holedHoled: When a ball is at rest in the hole after a stroke and the entire ball is below the surface of the putting green., and when done either as a concession or when the ball needed to be holedHoled: When a ball is at rest in the hole after a stroke and the entire ball is below the surface of the putting green. to tie the hole, is covered by Rule 3.2a(1) or 3.2b(1), not by this Rule.

For a player’s right to have a ball or ball-markerBall-Marker: An artificial object when used to mark the spot of a ball to be lifted, such as a tee, a coin, an object made to be a ball-marker or another small piece of equipment. lifted before a strokeStroke: The forward movement of the club made to strike the ball. is made if he or she reasonably believes the ball or ball-markerBall-Marker: An artificial object when used to mark the spot of a ball to be lifted, such as a tee, a coin, an object made to be a ball-marker or another small piece of equipment. might help or interfere with play, see Rule 15.3.

b. When Penalty Applies to a Player

Exception – Ball Moving in Water: There is no penalty if a player lifts his or her ball moving in water in temporary waterTemporary Water: Any temporary accumulation of water on the surface of the ground (such as puddles from rain or irrigation or an overflow from a body of water) that: or in a penalty areaPenalty Area: An area from which relief with a one-stroke penalty is allowed if the player’s ball comes to rest there. when taking relief under Rule 16.1 or 17 (see Rule 10.1d Exception 3).

See Rule 22.2 (in FoursomesFoursomes (also known as “Alternate Shot”): A form of play where two partners compete as a side by playing one ball in alternating order on each hole., either partnerPartner: A player who competes together with another player as a side, in either match play or stroke play. may act for the sideSide: Two or more partners competing as a single unit in a round in match play or stroke play. and action by the partnerPartner: A player who competes together with another player as a side, in either match play or stroke play. is treated as action of the player); 23.5 (in Four-BallFour-Ball: A form of play where sides of two partners compete, with each player playing his or her own ball. A side’s score for a hole is the lower score of the two partners on that hole., either partnerPartner: A player who competes together with another player as a side, in either match play or stroke play. may act for the sideSide: Two or more partners competing as a single unit in a round in match play or stroke play. and action by the partnerPartner: A player who competes together with another player as a side, in either match play or stroke play. concerning the player’s ball or equipmentEquipment: Anything used, worn, held or carried by the player or the player’s caddie. is treated as action of the player).

c. Place from Where Deliberately Deflected or Stopped Ball Must Be Played

If it is known or virtually certainKnown or Virtually Certain: The standard for deciding what happened to a player’s ball – for example, whether the ball came to rest in a penalty area, whether it moved or what caused it to move. that a player’s ball in motion was deliberately deflected or stopped by a person (whether or not the ball has been found), it must not be played as it lies. Instead, the player must take relief:

(1) Stroke Made from Anywhere Except Putting Green. The player must take relief based on the estimated spot where the ball would have come to rest if not deflected or stopped:

(2) Stroke Made from Putting Green. The strokeStroke: The forward movement of the club made to strike the ball. does not count, and the original ball or another 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) (see Rule 14.2).

Penalty for Playing Incorrectly SubstitutedSubstitute: To change the ball the player is using to play a hole by having another ball become the ball in play. Ball or Playing Ball from a Wrong PlaceWrong Place: Any place on the course other than where the player is required or allowed to play his or her ball under the Rules. in Breach of Rule 11.2: General PenaltyGeneral Penalty: Loss of hole in match play or two penalty strokes in stroke play. under Rule 6.3b or 14.7a.

If multiple Rule breaches result from a single act or related acts, see Rule 1.3c(4).

11.3  Deliberately Moving Objects or Altering Conditions to Affect Ball in Motion

When a ball is in motion, a player must not deliberately take any of these actions to affect where that ball (whether the player’s own ball or another player’s ball) might come to rest:

Exception – Moving Flagstick, Ball at Rest on Putting Green and Other Player Equipment: This Rule does not prohibit a player from lifting or moving:

Removing the flagstickFlagstick: A movable pole provided by the Committee that is placed in the hole to show players where the hole is. The flagstick includes the flag and any other material or objects attached to the pole. from the holeHole: The finishing point on the putting green for the hole being played: (including by attending it) while a ball is in motion is covered by Rule 13.2, not by this Rule.

Penalty for Breach of Rule 11.3: General PenaltyGeneral Penalty: Loss of hole in match play or two penalty strokes in stroke play..

See Rules 22.2 (in FoursomesFoursomes (also known as “Alternate Shot”): A form of play where two partners compete as a side by playing one ball in alternating order on each hole., either partnerPartner: A player who competes together with another player as a side, in either match play or stroke play. may act for the sideSide: Two or more partners competing as a single unit in a round in match play or stroke play. and action by the partnerPartner: A player who competes together with another player as a side, in either match play or stroke play. is treated as action of the player); 23.5 (in Four-BallFour-Ball: A form of play where sides of two partners compete, with each player playing his or her own ball. A side’s score for a hole is the lower score of the two partners on that hole., either partnerPartner: A player who competes together with another player as a side, in either match play or stroke play. may act for the sideSide: Two or more partners competing as a single unit in a round in match play or stroke play. and action by the partnerPartner: A player who competes together with another player as a side, in either match play or stroke play. concerning the player’s ball or equipmentEquipment: Anything used, worn, held or carried by the player or the player’s caddie. is treated as action of the player).