Rule 19 - Unplayable Ball

19.2 Relief Options for Unplayable Ball in General Area or on Putting Green

19.2a/1 – Player May Take Stroke-and-Distance Relief Even When Spot of Previous Stroke Is Nearer Hole Than Where Unplayable Ball Lies

If a ball comes to rest farther from the holeHole: The finishing point on the putting green for the hole being played:(...Continued) than the spot from which it was played, stroke-and-distanceStroke and Distance: The procedure and penalty when a player takes relief under Rules 17, 18 or 19 by playing a ball from where the previous stroke was made (see Rule 14.6).(...Continued) relief may still be taken.

Examples where stroke-and-distanceStroke and Distance: The procedure and penalty when a player takes relief under Rules 17, 18 or 19 by playing a ball from where the previous stroke was made (see Rule 14.6).(...Continued) relief may be nearer the holeHole: The finishing point on the putting green for the hole being played:(...Continued) include when:

19.2a/2 – Stroke-and-Distance Relief Is Allowed Only at Spot of the Last Stroke

The option to take stroke-and-distanceStroke and Distance: The procedure and penalty when a player takes relief under Rules 17, 18 or 19 by playing a ball from where the previous stroke was made (see Rule 14.6).(...Continued) relief for an unplayable ball applies only to where the last strokeStroke: The forward movement of the club made to strike the ball.(...Continued) was made; a player is not allowed to go back to the spot of any earlier strokesStroke: The forward movement of the club made to strike the ball.(...Continued) made before that.

If the stroke-and-distanceStroke and Distance: The procedure and penalty when a player takes relief under Rules 17, 18 or 19 by playing a ball from where the previous stroke was made (see Rule 14.6).(...Continued) relief option or the back-on-the-line option are not favourable, the only option is to take lateral relief multiple times, taking a penalty each time, until the player can get a ball into a playable location.

Interpretations Note for Rule 19.2b:

See Interpretation 17.1d(2)/1 – Recommendation That Player Physically Marks Reference Point on Reference Line

19.2c/1 – Reference Point for Lateral Relief When Ball Is Not on the Ground

When a player’s ball lies above the ground (such as in a bush or a tree), the player may take lateral relief by using the point on the ground directly below the spot of the ball as his or her reference point:

But, if an unplayable ball lies on the ground, the spot of the original ball itself is always used as the reference point. For example:

19.2/1 – No Guarantee Ball Will Be Playable After Taking Unplayable Ball Relief

When taking unplayable ball relief, a player must accept the outcome even if it is unfavourable, such as when a 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.(...Continued) ball comes to rest in its original location or in a bad lie in another location in the 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:(...Continued):

19.2/2 – Ball May be Dropped in Any Area of the Course When Taking Unplayable Ball Relief

A player may take relief by droppingDrop: 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.(...Continued) a ball into 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:(...Continued) in any area of the courseAreas of the Course: The five defined areas that make up the course: under the unplayable ball relief options. This includes taking relief from the general areaGeneral Area: The area of the course that covers all of the courseexcept for the other four defined areas: (1) the teeing area the player must play from in starting the hole he or she is playing, (2) all penalty areas, (3) all bunkers, and (4) the putting green of the hole the player is playing.(...Continued) and droppingDrop: 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.(...Continued) directly into a bunkerBunker: A specially prepared area of sand, which is often a hollow from which turf or soil was removed.(...Continued) or penalty areaPenalty Area: An area from which relief with a one-stroke penalty is allowed if the player’s ball comes to rest there.(...Continued), onto a putting greenPutting Green: The area on the hole the player is playing that:(...Continued), into a no play zoneNo Play Zone: A part of the course where the Committee has prohibited play. A no play zone must be defined as part of either an abnormal course condition or a penalty area.(...Continued) or onto a wrong greenWrong Green: Any green on the course other than the putting green for the hole the player is playing. Wrong greens include:(...Continued).

However, if the player chooses to dropDrop: 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.(...Continued) into a no play zoneNo Play Zone: A part of the course where the Committee has prohibited play. A no play zone must be defined as part of either an abnormal course condition or a penalty area.(...Continued) or onto a wrong greenWrong Green: Any green on the course other than the putting green for the hole the player is playing. Wrong greens include:(...Continued), the player must then continue to take the relief required by the Rules from that no play zoneNo Play Zone: A part of the course where the Committee has prohibited play. A no play zone must be defined as part of either an abnormal course condition or a penalty area.(...Continued) or wrong greenWrong Green: Any green on the course other than the putting green for the hole the player is playing. Wrong greens include:(...Continued).

Similarly, if the player chooses to dropDrop: 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.(...Continued) 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.(...Continued) and he or she cannot (or does not wish to) play the ball from where it now lies, the only option is to take further relief under penalty of stroke and distanceStroke and Distance: The procedure and penalty when a player takes relief under Rules 17, 18 or 19 by playing a ball from where the previous stroke was made (see Rule 14.6).(...Continued) by playing from where the previous strokeStroke: The forward movement of the club made to strike the ball.(...Continued) was made because:

In taking stroke-and-distanceStroke and Distance: The procedure and penalty when a player takes relief under Rules 17, 18 or 19 by playing a ball from where the previous stroke was made (see Rule 14.6).(...Continued) relief, the player will get another one-stroke penalty (in addition to the first penalty stroke for taking unplayable ball relief).

19.2/3 – Stroke-and-Distance Reference Point Does Not Change Until Stroke Is Made

The reference point used for taking relief under stroke-and-distanceStroke and Distance: The procedure and penalty when a player takes relief under Rules 17, 18 or 19 by playing a ball from where the previous stroke was made (see Rule 14.6).(...Continued) does not change until the player makes another strokeStroke: The forward movement of the club made to strike the ball.(...Continued) at his or her 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:(...Continued), even if the player has 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.(...Continued) a ball under a Rule.

For example, a player takes relief for an unplayable ball and dropsDrop: 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.(...Continued) a ball under either the back-on-the-line relief option or lateral relief option. The 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.(...Continued) ball stays within the 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:(...Continued) but rolls into a place that the player again decides is unplayable.

For one additional penalty stroke the player may again use the back-on-the-line relief option or lateral relief option, or may choose the stroke-and-distanceStroke and Distance: The procedure and penalty when a player takes relief under Rules 17, 18 or 19 by playing a ball from where the previous stroke was made (see Rule 14.6).(...Continued) relief option using the point where the ball was last played before becoming unplayable the first time as the reference point. This stroke-and-distanceStroke and Distance: The procedure and penalty when a player takes relief under Rules 17, 18 or 19 by playing a ball from where the previous stroke was made (see Rule 14.6).(...Continued) reference point does not change because the player did not make a strokeStroke: The forward movement of the club made to strike the ball.(...Continued) at the 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.(...Continued) ball.

The outcome would be different if the player made a strokeStroke: The forward movement of the club made to strike the ball.(...Continued) at the 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.(...Continued) ball, because that spot would become the new stroke-and-distanceStroke and Distance: The procedure and penalty when a player takes relief under Rules 17, 18 or 19 by playing a ball from where the previous stroke was made (see Rule 14.6).(...Continued) reference point.

19.2/4 – Player May Take Relief Without Penalty if He or She Lifts Ball to Take Unplayable Ball Relief and Discovers Ball Was in Ground Under Repair Before Dropping

If a player lifts his or her ball to take unplayable ball relief and then discovers it was in ground under repairGround Under Repair: Any part of the course the Committee defines to be ground under repair (whether by marking it or otherwise). Any defined ground under repair includes both:(...Continued) or another abnormal course conditionAbnormal Course Condition: Any of these four defined conditions:, the player may still take free relief under Rule 16.1 so long as he or she has not yet put 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:(...Continued) under Rule 19 to take unplayable ball relief.

19.2/5 – Player Must Find Ball to Use Back-On-the-Line or Lateral Relief Options

The back-on-the-line and lateral relief options under Rule 19.2 and 19.3 may not be used without finding the original ball as both require that ball’s original spot as the reference point for relief. If either relief option is used to take unplayable ball relief with reference to a ball that is not the player’s ball, the player is treated as taking stroke-and-distanceStroke and Distance: The procedure and penalty when a player takes relief under Rules 17, 18 or 19 by playing a ball from where the previous stroke was made (see Rule 14.6).(...Continued) relief as that is the only Rule that can be used if the player has not found his or her original ball.

For example, a player finds a stray ball in a bad lie. Mistaking it for his or her ball, the player decides to take lateral relief (Rule 19.2c), substitutesSubstitute: To change the ball the player is using to play a hole by having another ball become the ball in play.(...Continued) a ball and plays it. While walking to play the next strokeStroke: The forward movement of the club made to strike the ball.(...Continued), the player finds his or her ball. Since the player did not know the spot of the original ball at the time the other ball was substitutedSubstitute: To change the ball the player is using to play a hole by having another ball become the ball in play.(...Continued), he or she is treated as having taken stroke-and-distanceStroke and Distance: The procedure and penalty when a player takes relief under Rules 17, 18 or 19 by playing a ball from where the previous stroke was made (see Rule 14.6).(...Continued) relief and did so in 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.(...Continued) (Rule 14.7).

In match playMatch Play: A form of play where a player or side plays directly against an opponent or opposing side in a head-to-head match of one or more rounds:(...Continued), the player loses the hole for playing 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.(...Continued).

In stroke playStroke Play: A form of play where a player or side competes against all other players or sides in the competition.(...Continued), the player gets one penalty stroke for taking stroke-and-distanceStroke and Distance: The procedure and penalty when a player takes relief under Rules 17, 18 or 19 by playing a ball from where the previous stroke was made (see Rule 14.6).(...Continued) relief (Rule 18.1) and another two penalty strokes for doing so 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.(...Continued). If the 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.(...Continued) was a serious breachSerious Breach: In stroke play, when playing from a wrong place could give the player a significant advantage compared to the stroke to be made from the right place.(...Continued), the mistake must be corrected before making a strokeStroke: The forward movement of the club made to strike the ball.(...Continued) to start another hole, or for the final hole of the roundRound: 18 or fewer holes played in the order set by the Committee., before returning his or her scorecardScorecard: The document where a player’s score for each hole is entered in stroke play.(...Continued).

19.3 Relief Options for Unplayable Ball in Bunker

Rule 19.3b Interpretations:

See Interpretation 17.1d(2)/1 – Recommendation That Player Physically Marks Reference Point on Reference Line

19.3b/1 – Taking Unplayable Ball Relief Outside Bunker After First Taking Unplayable Ball Relief in Bunker

If a player’s ball lies in a bunkerBunker: A specially prepared area of sand, which is often a hollow from which turf or soil was removed.(...Continued) and the player takes unplayable ball relief in the bunkerBunker: A specially prepared area of sand, which is often a hollow from which turf or soil was removed.(...Continued) for one penalty stroke under Rule 19.3a and then decides he or she cannot (or does not wish to) play the 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.(...Continued) ball as it now lies, the player is faced with a new situation: