The Practice Area: Introduction to Ball in Motion
As you and all golfers know, despite our well-intended preparation, anything can and will happen once that little white ball is in motion. This concept, “Ball in Motion,” and all that can happen during its journey, is the focus of this round of the USGA’s Short Course on the Rules of Golf.
There are a couple important points that underpin Rule 11 (Ball in Motion Accidentally Hits Person, Animal or Object, Deliberate Actions to Affect Ball in Motion). Understanding and recognizing these points will strengthen your ability to properly apply this Rule.
We’ll start by noting a pattern you can find throughout the Rules – accidental acts are treated very differently than those that are deliberate. Let’s then start by looking at the differences in Rule 11 between accidental and deliberate deflections.
Generally, when an accidental deflection happens, there’s no penalty and you play your ball as it lies. This was previously defined as a “rub of the green,” which has for decades been synonymous with bad luck by golfers. In reality, the definition didn’t speak to luck at all, rather it meant there had been an accidental deflection by something that was outside of your control. We’ve all experienced our fair share of accidental deflections, including the “lucky” good bounces as well as the “unlucky” bad ones. In golf, you are left to accept and overcome whichever version comes your way. As for “rub of the green,” the Rules no longer have this definition, and what some call a term of art, in part because it was rarely used correctly anyway.
Deliberate actions in Rule 11 are very different. Let’s start with the generalization that someone will almost always get a penalty, further when a deliberate action does breach Rule 11, the ball cannot be played as it lies – something of a rare occurrence in the game of golf.
In this round of the Short Course, many questions test your ability to differentiate between these two different outcomes and procedures.
The second point ties into the deliberate actions noted above and also serves as a foundational principle of how the game is played. That is, once you set your ball into motion with a stroke, you can expect for your ball to take its natural path, without you or anyone else taking deliberate actions to alter that path.
Another way to think about this principle is to compare golf to the sport of curling … golf is not like curling (except, perhaps for the many colorful outfits). In curling, players will enthusiastically work to deliberately affect where the stone will come to rest. In golf, most deliberate actions taken to affect where your ball in motion might go or come to rest result in a breach of the Rules. So the Rules serve to protect this principle by prohibiting most objects from being deliberately moved out of the way of your ball in motion and also serve to prohibit you or anyone else from taking an action to deliberately deflect or stop a moving ball.
The Starting Area and the Front Nine (Questions 1-9)
Question: True or False: You may move another player’s golf bag so that a ball in motion will not hit it.
CORRECT ANSWER: A
With those two main points fresh in your mind, let’s make our way to the first tee. How many times have you seen this exact situation happen during a round? The natural reaction for most golfers is to move that bag (player equipment) out of the way as a ball races towards it, which is what the Rules allow. That is, the equipment of any player may be moved while your ball is in motion, even if done deliberately to affect where your ball might go.
Hopefully, this puts up a red flag because this directly contradicts the principle you just read above – let the ball take its natural path. This “exception” to that principle is present for two basic reasons. The first is that it’s the natural reaction for most and prohibiting this would create a number of undesirable penalties. The second is that navigating player equipment as you play is not part of the challenge of playing the game – players bring all kinds of things out on the course and it all gets moved around constantly. Therefore, via an Exception to Rule 11.3, all player equipment can be moved while a ball is in motion, and for any reason.
Question: You slice your tee shot into the trees and in trying to play back out to the fairway, your second shot hits a tree, bounces back and hits your body after being unable to move out of the way. The ball comes to rest in the rough. What is the ruling?
(a) There is no penalty and you must play the ball as it lies.
(b) There is no penalty, but your stroke does not count and must be replayed.
(c) You get one penalty stroke and must play the ball as it lies.
CORRECT ANSWER: A
Hole 2 focuses on accidental deflections, and in this question, there are two. As was pointed out above, almost all accidental deflections result in no penalty and the ball is played as it lies. Not many would think twice about a ball hitting a tree (defined as an outside influence), but that’s Rule 11.1 at work. There’s no penalty and you play the ball as it lies. Now, if you missed this question, was it because you thought there is a penalty for the ball also accidentally deflecting off of you? This is an outcome that has changed over time. Currently, just like with the tree, because the deflection is accidental, there’s no penalty and you would still play the ball where it came to rest.
That said, when your stroke results in your ball accidentally hitting you, the outcome is typically punishment enough and the Rules no longer see a need to contribute.
Question: True or False: If you place your foot in a position to stop another player’s ball from rolling off the front of the putting green, you are penalized whether or not the ball hits your foot.
CORRECT ANSWER: B
Here we get our first look at deliberate deflections. Rule 11.2 covers deliberate deflections and it is helpful to remember in this Rule that simply taking a deliberate action does not always result in a penalty. It’s only when you are successful in deflecting or stopping your ball or any other ball in motion that you breach the Rule. Because of that, many will refer to Rule 11.2 as an outcome-based Rule in that to make a correct ruling, you need to know both what the player was trying to do, and whether it was successful.
It follows then that if you attempt to deliberately deflect your ball in motion, but are unsuccessful, you do not get a penalty. While many Rules can be breached simply by taking a deliberate action (we’ll see this in Rule 11.3), this Rule doesn’t use that same standard because it is easy to differentiate between actions that affect where your ball in motion comes to rest and those that don’t.
Another way that might help you commit this nuance to memory is to compare how similar it is to try to stop your ball in motion from rolling into a penalty area and having it bounce right over your foot, untouched and into the water versus how effective you are by pleading for a thinned wedge to “SIT DOWN” as it skitters over the green.
Question: You play your ball from the putting green, and the ball in motion accidentally hits a towel dropped on the putting green by the caddie of another player. What is the ruling?
(a) There is no penalty to anyone, and the ball is played as it lies.
(b) There is no penalty to anyone. Your stroke does not count, and the original ball or another ball must be replaced on its original spot.
(c) There is no penalty to anyone. You have the option to play the ball as it lies or replay the stroke.
(d) The player whose caddie dropped the towel gets the general penalty since the ball hit the towel. Your stroke does not count, and the original ball or another ball must be replaced on its original spot.
CORRECT ANSWER: B
We’re back to Rule 11.1 and accidental acts, but here we’ll take a look at one of the Exceptions to Rule 11.1b. First, remember Rule 11.1 applies to accidental deflections only. Rule 11.1a tells you if there is a penalty and Rule 11.1b is specific to where the ball must be played from following an accidental deflection.
As with nearly all accidental deflections, Rule 11.1a tells you there’s no penalty to anyone. Now onto Rule 11.1b to figure out where to play the next stroke from. In almost all cases, your ball will be played as it lies, but that’s not the case here.
The towel you hit is player equipment, but it is also a movable obstruction. Yes, that’s right, there are many times when multiple Definitions will apply to any given situation, as is the case here. When you recognize this, while it might appear to present a challenge, it will be helpful to remember that this is not a rare occurrence. Further, there’s a very high correlation to one’s understanding of the Definitions and one’s understanding of the Rules.
Because Exception 2 to Rule 11.1b addresses movable obstructions, which the towel is, the stroke does not count and either the original ball or another ball must be replaced on the original spot and played again from there, without penalty.
While this also contradicts what is generally true for accidental deflections (normally there is no penalty and you play the ball as it lies), this also highlights another pattern in the Rules – when things happen on the putting green, they are often treated differently because the putting green is considered to be a special place.
Question: True or False: If your ball played from the putting green is deflected by a leaf being blown by the wind, the stroke does not count.
CORRECT ANSWER: B
An age-old favorite here! Every autumn as the leaves begin to fall, the Rules team will field inquiries from dozens of golfers about perfect putts destined for the hole, only to have a leaf mercilessly knock their ball off its perfect line.
A careful reading of the Rules will pick up both what is written and also what is not. While you might look to Exception 2 under Rule 11.1b for some relief, just like we saw on Hole 4, that’s not the case here.
A detached leaf is a loose impediment (as well as an outside influence) and neither of those objects are included in Exception 2. This means you just use Rule 11.1 – there’s no penalty and you’ll play your next stroke from where your ball came to rest.
Question: While a ball played from the putting green is in motion, which one of the following may not be moved to prevent the ball from hitting it?
(a) A ball at rest on the putting green
(b) A flagstick that has been removed and lies on the putting green
(c) A twig
CORRECT ANSWER: C
On Hole 6 we revisit the concept from Hole 1. There, you learned that while most objects need to be left in place while a ball is in motion, player equipment can be moved even when done to influence the movement of a ball.
The Exception to Rule 11.3 also includes a removed flagstick and a ball at rest on the putting green, but that’s it. Therefore, any other object that you lift or move while a ball is in motion to deliberately affect where that ball will go or come to rest will result in you getting the general penalty.
Question: When it is known or virtually certain that your ball in motion was deliberately stopped or deflected by a person, which one of the following is true?
(a) If your stroke was made from off the putting green, you may play the ball from the spot where it comes to rest.
(b) If your stroke was made from on the putting green, your stroke does not count and you must replace the original ball or another ball on its original spot.
(c) Regardless of where your stroke was made, you must estimate the spot where the ball would have come to rest and play a ball from that location.
CORRECT ANSWER: B
Hole 7 focuses on what happens following a deliberate deflection or stopping of a ball in motion. As referenced in the practice area, this is one of the rare times in the Rules that the ball cannot be played as it lies. In fact, a ball can never be played as it lies following a deliberate deflection or stopping of a ball in motion – and it’s unusual to be absolute when it comes to the Rules. With that in mind, it becomes a debate between options B and C. As the putting green is a special place, a stroke in this situation doesn’t count and must be replayed.
Question: While your ball is in motion after a stroke, another player, who is not aware that your ball was in motion, lifts a rake to rake the bunker from where the other player had just played. Your ball rolls through the area from where the rake was lifted. What is the ruling?
(a) Neither player gets a penalty.
(b) You get the general penalty.
(c)The player who lifted the rake gets the general penalty.
CORRECT ANSWER: A
On the surface, this question might appear to breach the principle of allowing a ball in motion to take its natural path. However, this principle only addresses deliberate actions that are taken to affect where a ball in motion might come to rest. Since this other player did not deliberately move the rake to affect where your ball would go (he was unaware you made a stroke), Rule 11.3 doesn’t apply. No penalty and play on.
Question: In stroke play, you hit your third shot into a par-5 green but it goes too far and over the green toward a red penalty area. Your caddie, who had walked ahead and was near the penalty area, intentionally stopped the ball before it could go into the penalty area. Seeing this happen, you estimate the spot where the ball would have come to rest in the penalty area. Based on that spot, you decide to take penalty area relief. After correctly dropping a ball, you hole out in two more strokes. What is your score for the hole?
CORRECT ANSWER: C
It’s your responsibility as the player in stroke play to get your individual hole scores right on your scorecard and here it would be a good idea to figure out your score before heading over to the back nine. Since there never seems to be a referee around to ask for help when you play the Short Course, it’s all up to you!
When your caddie intentionally stopped your ball from going into the penalty area, he breached Rule 11.2 and earned you a general penalty (two strokes in stroke play). Remembering that deliberate actions that breach the Rules never result in you playing the ball as it lies, you proceeded correctly by estimating where the ball would have come to rest. Because that was in the penalty area, penalty area relief under Rule 17.1d was available to you for one penalty stroke. That brings your total to three penalty strokes added onto your five talent strokes, for a grand total of eight.
Let your marker know a snowman is in order and, if you’re ready for the challenge of the back nine, let’s make the turn.
Making the Turn and the Back Nine (Questions 10-18)
As you walk toward the 10th tee you quickly read a sign that has been conspicuously posted, “the back nine of the Short Course is extremely difficult and is only recommended for those with advanced knowledge of the Rules, and those willing to invest the time to get there.”
Question: Your ball and a practice ball from the nearby practice area are both at rest on the putting green. You putt, and your ball accidentally hits the practice ball on the putting green. What is the ruling in stroke play?
(a) There is no penalty and you must play your ball as it lies.
(b) There is no penalty. Your stroke does not count and the original ball or another must be replaced on its original spot.
(c) You get two penalty strokes and must play the ball as it lies.
(d) You get two penalty strokes. Your stroke does not count and the original ball or another must be replaced on its original spot.
CORRECT ANSWER: B
Hole 10 “welcomes” you to the back nine. There’s a tremendous amount going on in this question and it requires that you correctly apply both Rule 11.1a and Rule 11.1b, including both of their Exceptions. As mentioned in Hole 4, both parts of Rule 11.1 always apply to accidental deflections.
Starting with Rule 11.1a, you must determine if this is a penalty situation. While the Exception to Rule 11.1a might appear to apply, the Exception applies only in stroke play when the player’s ball in play hits another player’s ball that is in play. The practice ball from the nearby practice area is not a ball in play, which means there is no penalty.
We’ll explore one of the Rule’s deepest “rabbit holes” in another round, when we look at the different statuses the ball can have. But, for now, there’s already another group on the 10th tee and we don’t want to unreasonably delay play.
Next, you need to determine the correct procedure for where to play from (Rule 11.1b). You already know the practice ball is not a ball in play, but did you pick up on the fact that it is a movable obstruction?
Question: In which one of the following do you not get a penalty for lifting the branch while a ball is in motion?
(a) You lift a branch to prevent the ball from hitting it, but the ball stops short of where the branch had been at rest.
(b) You lift a branch to prevent the ball from hitting it and the ball rolls over the spot where the branch had been at rest.
(c) In preparing to make your next stroke, you lift a branch so it’s not on your line of play. Another player’s ball rolls over the spot where the branch had been at rest.
CORRECT ANSWER: C
Hole 11 revisits the concept you saw on a few front nine holes (Holes 1, 6 and 8). Unlike Rule 11.2, Rule 11.3 is not an outcome-based Rule. Rather, it prohibits specific deliberate actions only and does not consider whether the action was successful.
As a reminder, it prohibits you from moving objects out of the way to affect where a ball in motion might come to rest.
In Rule 11.3, which prohibits lifting or moving objects out of the way of a moving ball, it would be very problematic to determine whether a breach has occurred based on whether your deliberate actions actually had an effect on where your ball in motion came to rest.
Compare this to Rule 11.2, which again is about putting objects or yourself in the way, where a simple determination can be made.
Further, there’s another principle in the Rules as it relates to why penalties exist in the first place – the penalty for breaching a particular Rule is set to offset any potential advantage you might gain by breaching that Rule. In Rule 11.2, we can easily determine whether you gained an advantage, and a penalty therefore only applies if you do. Because that’s not something that can be determined with confidence in Rule 11.3, the penalty applies based solely on you taking the deliberate actions prohibited by the Rule.
All of that means, both options A and B result in a penalty because you moved the branch to prevent the ball from hitting it – any further information is superfluous. In option C, you moved the branch to prepare for your play, which is allowed under Rule 15.1a (Removal of Loose Impediment). And, because you did not move it to deliberately affect where you ball in motion might come to rest, Rule 11.3 does not apply to you.
Question: True or False: You make a stroke from a deep greenside bunker to an elevated green. Although you can no longer see your ball, you assume it came to rest on the putting green. However, while retrieving a rake from just outside the bunker, your ball starts to roll back toward you. Another player alerts you to this and, to prevent the ball from rolling back into the bunker, you place the rake down on the ground in the path of the ball. The ball bounces over the rake without hitting it, and comes to rest back in the bunker. You get the general penalty for putting the rake down on the ground to try to deflect or stop your ball in motion.
CORRECT ANSWER: B
You now need switch mindsets to apply the standard of deliberate deflections in Rule 11.2, where it’s practical to apply a penalty based on the outcome of that deliberate action. As you learn more about the Rules, you’ll continue to grow more comfortable identifying which Rule applies, and a big part of correctly doing this is being able to recognize the differences and similarities between them.
With that foundation, you should see that the deliberate action you’ve taken here on Hole 12 is closest to that which is prohibited under Rule 11.2. But, while you did place the rake to deflect your ball, hoping it would not roll back into the bunker, Rule 11.2 only applies if you are successful in doing so. Since the ball did not strike the rake, Rule 11.2 doesn’t apply. Good luck getting your next stroke out of the bunker.
Question: In playing from above the hole on a steeply sloped putting green, you hit your putt a little too hard. The ball misses the hole, rolls down the slope and then off the green. The ball bounces off a turtle and comes to rest in the rough. You make the next stroke from where the ball came to rest after the deflection. The original stroke was made 30 feet from the hole, and the stroke after the deflection is made 20 feet from the hole. What is the ruling in stroke play?
(a) You proceeded correctly and get no penalty.
(b) You get two penalty strokes and must continue with the ball that was played 20 feet from the hole.
(c) You get two penalty strokes and, because you should have replayed the stroke, you must make the next stroke from the spot of the original stroke (30 feet from the hole).
CORRECT ANSWER: A
You’ve left your approach shot in a less than ideal position and, try as you might, you’ve putted clean off the green. It’s clear this deflection was an accident under Rule 11.1a, so there’s no penalty to you.
But, navigating Rule 11.1b and its various Exceptions is the complexity of the hole. Exception 2 to Rule 11.1b applies when you play a ball from the putting green and accidentally hit any animal (as well as some other things) that are on the putting green. You must trust the words as written and apply them accordingly – easier said than done.
Question: Your tee shot comes to rest in the pocket of a spectator standing in the general area. Which one of the following is false?
(a) When taking relief, you may drop the original ball or another ball.
(b) The reference point is the point right under where your ball first came to rest in the spectator’s pocket.
(c) You must drop a ball as near as possible to the reference point, but not nearer the hole.
(d) Your relief area is limited to the general area.
CORRECT ANSWER: C
As with all games, their respective Rules need to tell players what to do. Hole 14 reminds us why the Rules of Golf can’t fit onto a notecard or into a brochure – that little white ball can come to rest in some pretty unusual places.
This is our first look at applying Exception 1 to Rule 11.1b. A fundamental principle of golf is that you play the ball as it lies, and while that works most of the time, it doesn’t provide you any help here. In this situation (and anytime your ball comes to rest in or on a person), you are not allowed to play your ball as it lies and must take relief according to the Rule.
The 2019 Rules never require you to drop a ball on a specific spot (that’s another rare absolute) – dropping will always involve a relief area. That quickly points to option C as the false (and therefore the correct) answer.
The rest all come from a quick read through the relief procedure in Exception 1 to Rule 11.1b and the dropping Rule, Rule 14.3. You’ll see that the three other options are all part of how you take relief in this situation.
- When taking lateral relief from a red penalty area or
- When you take lateral relief for an unplayable ball.
Question: Which one of the following statements is true about Rule 11.3 (Deliberately Moving Objects or Altering Conditions to Affect Ball in Motion)?
(a) You get a penalty under Rule 11.3 only when the movement of a ball is affected by your prohibited deliberate action.
(b) You get a penalty under Rule 11.3 if you take a prohibited deliberate action to affect a ball in motion.
(c) Rule 11.3 does not apply if your prohibited deliberate action is taken when a ball starts rolling on its own and not as the result of a stroke.
CORRECT ANSWER: B
The ease of this hole rests on your understanding of Rule 11.3. As referenced on previous holes, this Rule is concerned only about your deliberate action to affect where a ball in motion might come to rest, and its application does not depend on whether your action was successful. If that’s clear to you, option B should jump out as the right answer.
Option C might look correct, but if you look to the very beginning of Rule 11 (right after the purpose statement), you’ll see that Rule 11 applies anytime a ball is in motion (whether after a stroke or otherwise). You’ll also see there that there is one time when you wouldn’t use this Rule if a ball in play was deflected or stopped, and that is when you are dropping a ball to take relief, in which case you would use Rule 14.3 (Dropping Ball in a Relief Area).
Question: Which one of the following scenarios results in you or another player getting a general penalty under Rule 11?
(a) While reading your line of play on the putting green, you place some clubs beyond the hole. Another player informs you that those clubs are in a position to stop your ball from going into an adjacent penalty area if hit too hard. Although you acknowledge that this could happen, you leave your clubs there anyway and make your next stroke. Your ball does end up rolling past the hole, bounces off one of your clubs, and comes to rest in the penalty area.
(b) In determining how to play a downhill putt, you notice the preceding group left a bunker rake in a position just off the green and next to a bunker. Even though you can see this might stop your ball from going into that bunker, you decide to leave it in that position. You make the stroke and your ball is stopped by the rake, likely preventing it from ending up in the bunker.
(c) You place your bag on the opposite side of the green in the rough, and just short of a penalty area. Before playing a chip shot from just off the putting green, you notice that your bag is in a position that could stop your ball from going into that penalty area if you hit it too hard. You make the stroke without moving your bag and, while your ball is in motion, your opponent moves your bag out of the way and your ball comes to rest in the penalty area.
CORRECT ANSWER: A
Is placing an object for the purpose of deflecting a ball the same as realizing an object you placed might deflect your ball before making a stroke? What about seeing an object left by someone else might help you? Hole 16 requires that you untangle this web.
This is the first time we’ve had to dip into the Interpretations for some additional guidance to better understand what deliberately deflected or stopped means in Rule 11.2 – Interpretation 11.2a/1 provides that guidance and clarifies that if you realize before making a stroke that an object you positioned may deflect or stop the ball, Rule 11.2a will apply if your ball then hits it. That fits the fact set of Option A.
We can dig a little deeper here into the other two options, both of which would not result in a penalty under Rule 11.
A fundamental principle of the game is playing the course as you find it, and this is what happens in Option B. You’ve simply left an object placed by someone else, and by doing so you are playing the course as you found it.
Lastly, Option C requires an understanding of Rule 11.2 (for you) and Rule 11.3 (for your opponent). As it relates to you, remember that Rule 11.2 requires your devious act to succeed, but your opponent has “foiled” your plan so that your ball will end up in the penalty area (perhaps unknowingly saving you the general penalty in the process … if you’re wondering … yes, we get calls like this on occasion too!)
As it relates to the opponent’s actions, Rule 11.3 prohibits most objects from being deliberately moved out of the way, but you’ll recall from Holes 1 and 6 that there are few items that can be moved, and any player equipment is included in these items.
Question: You make a stroke and your ball in motion is stopped or deflected. It is estimated that your ball would have come to rest in the hole had it not been deflected. In which one of the following scenarios are you considered to have holed out?
(a) Your stroke from the putting green is in motion and inches from the hole when your opponent, who was not aware you had played, walks across your line and accidentally deflects it.
(b) You and your partner hit good approach shots to the putting green and both have a chance at birdie; yours is from 30 feet and your partner’s is from inside three feet. You make your stroke and while the ball is in motion and inches from the hole, your partner, who is confident of making birdie as well, jokingly stops your ball just before it begins to fall into the hole.
(c) In stroke play, you make a stroke from the putting green at about the same time as another player in your group chips from the fringe. Your ball is on line with and just short of the hole when the other player’s ball strikes yours. The other player’s ball ends up in the hole and yours is deflected and comes to rest a few feet away.
(d) In stroke play, your stroke from the rough just off the putting green is in motion on the putting green and headed directly toward the hole when it is deliberately deflected by another player.
CORRECT ANSWER: D
With Hole 17, if you “got it” right away, you already knew the only possible correct answer as soon as you finished reading the question. It was just a matter of finding it amongst the four options.
Hole 9 was a similar situation, where your ball was deliberately deflected and you played your next stroke based on the location from where the ball was estimated to have come to rest (although on Hole 9 you took relief from the red penalty area instead, just before you asked if you could have another caddie at the turn).
For both Hole 9, and here on Hole 17, you need to look to Rule 11.2c to find the correct answer.
The only time we use this unusual procedure in the Rules (that is, estimating where the ball would have come to rest if not deflected or stopped) is when a deliberate deflection has occurred and your stroke was made from anywhere other than the putting green.
In Option A, the deflection is accidental so you can immediately eliminate that as a correct answer. This is covered under Exception 2 to Rule 11.1b, which tells you to play again from the same spot, and without penalty.
Further, in Options B and C, because your stroke was played from the putting green and there was a deliberate deflection, Rule 11.2c requires that you take relief – your stroke does not count and you’ll need to play again from where you just played.
That leaves only Option D. In looking at the fact set, you made a stroke from off the putting green, your ball was deliberately deflected while it is in motion and it is estimated that the ball would have come to rest in the hole.
While some will look to Rule 11.2c and ask where it states that the ball is holed … don’t worry, you’re not missing anything as it clearly does not. But, through exclusion of the first three answers, Option D is the only possible answer based on the what is both fair and consistent with how similar situations are treated under the Rules.
You may also be interested to know that there were a number of early drafts that included this outcome. But it was ultimately decided it would be best to remove this, and other similarly rare occurrences, to better the overall scope of the 2019 Rules.
Question: In which one of the following do you not get a penalty under Rule 11?
(a) After playing from a greenside bunker, you are raking the sand and see another player in your group chip from the other side of the putting green. Although that ball is coming toward you and the bunker, you don’t think it is traveling fast enough to get to the bunker, so you finish raking. To your surprise, the ball does end up in the bunker and comes to rest in the area that you had just raked.
(b) You have a divot in your hand that you are going to replace when you see another player’s ball coming toward the divot hole, so you quickly replace the divot to make sure the player won’t get a bad lie.
(c) Your chip shot up a steep slope stops just short of the top of the slope and starts rolling back toward you, and you remove the loose divot that you just made to prevent the ball from coming to rest against it.
CORRECT ANSWER: A
Hole 18 reminds you that there is more to Rule 11.3 than moving a loose impediment or movable obstruction to affect where your ball might come to rest – a lot more! It also applies to deliberately altering physical conditions by taking any of the actions listed in Rule 8.1a (such as what is described in Option B where you replace a divot in a divot hole).
While the questions so far have focused almost exclusively on you taking actions as it relates to your own ball in motion, Rule 11.3 can also apply to deliberate actions you take to any other player’s ball in motion.
In reading through the options, Option A should stand out from the others because your actions were not to deliberately affect where the other player’s ball in motion might come to rest. Not only did you expect the ball to stop short, the inadvertent nature of your actions was further reinforced in that you were surprised the ball came to rest in the area you had just raked. Therefore, there’s no penalty in that situation, while you earned yourself a general penalty in both Options B and C.
Scoring Area and Final Thoughts
Thanks for playing this round of the Short Course focused on ball in motion. Hopefully, you have a better understanding of the key points and principles Rule 11 is built on, as well as how the different standards and nuances are applied in these ball in motion situations.