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.”

Rule 9 applies to 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) at rest on the courseCourse: The entire area of play within the edge of any boundaries set by the Committee:(...Continued), and applies both during a roundRound: 18 or fewer holes played in the order set by the Committee. and while play is stopped under Rule 5.7a.

9.1 Ball Played as It Lies

a. Playing Ball from Where It Came to Rest

A player’s ball at rest on the courseCourse: The entire area of play within the edge of any boundaries set by the Committee:(...Continued) must be played as it lies, except when the Rules require or allow the player:

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

If a player’s ball at rest begins moving after the player has begun the strokeStroke: The forward movement of the club made to strike the ball.(...Continued) or the backswing for a strokeStroke: The forward movement of the club made to strike the ball.(...Continued) and the player goes on to make the strokeStroke: The forward movement of the club made to strike the ball.(...Continued):

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.(...Continued) 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.(...Continued) in Breach of Rule 9.1: General Penalty Under Rule 6.3b or 14.7a.

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

9.2 Deciding Whether Ball Moved and What Caused It to Move

a. Deciding Whether Ball Moved

A player’s ball at rest is treated as having movedMoved: When a 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).(...Continued) only 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.(...Continued) that it did.

If the ball might have movedMoved: When a 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).(...Continued) but this is not 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.(...Continued), it is treated as not having movedMoved: When a 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).(...Continued) and must be played as it lies.

b. Deciding What Caused Ball to Move

When a player’s ball at rest has movedMoved: When a 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).(...Continued):

(1) Four Possible Causes. The Rules recognize only four possible causes for a ball at rest that movesMoved: When a 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).(...Continued) before the player makes a strokeStroke: The forward movement of the club made to strike the ball.(...Continued):

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.(...Continued), 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.(...Continued) 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.(...Continued), 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.(...Continued) 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.(...Continued) is treated as action of the player).

(2) “Known or Virtually Certain” Standard for Deciding What Caused Ball to Move.

In applying this standard, all reasonably available information must be considered, which means all information the player knows or can get with reasonable effort and without unreasonably delaying play.

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 a player’s ball at rest to moveMoved: When a 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).(...Continued):

Exception – Ball on Putting Green Must Be Replaced If It Moves After Having Already Been Lifted and Replaced (see Rule 13.1d): If the player’s ball on the putting greenPutting Green: The area on the hole the player is playing that:(...Continued) movesMoved: When a 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).(...Continued) after the player had 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.(...Continued) the ball on the spot from which it movedMoved: When a 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).(...Continued):

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.(...Continued) 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.(...Continued) in Breach of Rule 9.3: 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).

9.4 Ball Lifted or Moved by Player

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.(...Continued) that a player (including the player’s caddieCaddie: Someone who helps a player during a round, including in these ways:(...Continued)) lifted his or her ball at rest or caused it to moveMoved: When a 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).(...Continued).

a. When Lifted or Moved Ball Must Be Replaced

If the player lifts his or her ball at rest or causes it to moveMoved: When a 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).(...Continued), 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.(...Continued) on its original spot (which if not known must be estimated) (see Rule 14.2), except:

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

If the player lifts or deliberately touches his or her ball at rest or causes it to moveMoved: When a 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).(...Continued), the player gets one penalty stroke.

But there are four exceptions:

Exception 1 – Player Allowed to Lift or Move Ball: There is no penalty when the player lifts the ball or causes it to moveMoved: When a 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).(...Continued) under a Rule that:

Exception 2 – Accidental Movement Before Ball Is Found: There is no penalty when the player accidentally causes the ball to moveMoved: When a 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).(...Continued) while trying to find or identify it (see Rule 7.4).

Exception 3 – Accidental Movement on Putting Green: There is no penalty when the player accidentally causes the ball to moveMoved: When a 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).(...Continued) on the putting greenPutting Green: The area on the hole the player is playing that:(...Continued) (see Rule 13.1d), no matter how that happens.

Exception 4 – Accidental Movement Anywhere Except on Putting Green While Applying Rule: There is no penalty when the player accidentally causes the ball to moveMoved: When a 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).(...Continued) anywhere except on the putting greenPutting Green: The area on the hole the player is playing that:(...Continued) while taking reasonable actions to:

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.(...Continued) 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.(...Continued) in Breach of Rule 9.4: 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).

9.5 Ball Lifted or Moved by Opponent in Match Play

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.(...Continued) that the opponentOpponent: The person a player competes against in a match. The term opponent applies only in match play. (including the opponent’sOpponent: The person a player competes against in a match. The term opponent applies only in match play. caddieCaddie: Someone who helps a player during a round, including in these ways:(...Continued)) lifted a player’s ball at rest or caused it to moveMoved: When a 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).(...Continued).

If the opponentOpponent: The person a player competes against in a match. The term opponent applies only in match play. plays the player’s ball as a wrong ballWrong Ball: Any ball other than the player’s:(...Continued), that is covered by Rule 6.3c(1), not by this Rule.

a. When Lifted or Moved Ball Must Be Replaced

If the opponentOpponent: The person a player competes against in a match. The term opponent applies only in match play. lifts or movesMoved: When a 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).(...Continued) the player’s ball at rest, 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.(...Continued) on its original spot (which if not known must be estimated) (see Rule 14.2), except:

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

If the opponentOpponent: The person a player competes against in a match. The term opponent applies only in match play. lifts or deliberately touches the player’s ball at rest or causes it to moveMoved: When a 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).(...Continued), the opponentOpponent: The person a player competes against in a match. The term opponent applies only in match play. gets one penalty stroke.

But there are several exceptions:

Exception 1 – Opponent Allowed to Lift Player’s Ball: There is no penalty when the opponentOpponent: The person a player competes against in a match. The term opponent applies only in match play. lifts the ball:

Exception 2 – Marking and Lifting Player’s Ball on Putting Green by Mistake: There is no penalty when the opponentOpponent: The person a player competes against in a match. The term opponent applies only in match play. marksMark: To show the spot where a ball is at rest by either:(...Continued) the spot of the player’s ball and lifts it on the putting greenPutting Green: The area on the hole the player is playing that:(...Continued) in the mistaken belief that it is the opponent’sOpponent: The person a player competes against in a match. The term opponent applies only in match play. own ball.

Exception 3 – Same Exceptions as for the Player: There is no penalty when the opponentOpponent: The person a player competes against in a match. The term opponent applies only in match play. accidentally causes the ball to moveMoved: When a 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).(...Continued) while taking any of the actions covered by Exceptions 2, 3 or 4 in Rule 9.4b.

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.(...Continued) 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.(...Continued) in Breach of Rule 9.5: 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).

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 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.(...Continued) that an 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: (including another player in stroke playStroke Play: A form of play where a player or side competes against all other players or sides in the competition.(...Continued) or another ball) lifted or movedMoved: When a 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).(...Continued) a player’s ball:

This applies whether or not the player’s ball has been found.

But if it is not 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.(...Continued) that the ball was lifted or movedMoved: When a 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).(...Continued) by an 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: and the ball is lostLost: The status of a ball that is not found in three minutes after the player or his or her caddie (or the player’s partner or partner’scaddie) begins to search for it.(...Continued), the player must 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 under Rule 18.2.

If the player’s ball is played as a wrong ballWrong Ball: Any ball other than the player’s:(...Continued) by another player, that is covered by Rule 6.3c(2), not by this Rule.

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.(...Continued) 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.(...Continued) in Breach of Rule 9.6: General PenaltyGeneral Penalty: Loss of hole in match play or two penalty strokes in stroke play. Under Rule 6.3b or14.7a.

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

9.7 Ball-Marker Lifted or Moved

This Rule covers what to do if a 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.(...Continued) that is markingMark: To show the spot where a ball is at rest by either:(...Continued) the spot of a lifted ball is lifted or moved before the ball is replacedReplace: To place a ball by setting it down and letting it go, with the intent for it to be in play.(...Continued).

a. Ball or Ball-Marker Must Be Replaced

If a player’s 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.(...Continued) 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 the ball is replacedReplace: To place a ball by setting it down and letting it go, with the intent for it to be in play.(...Continued), the player must either:

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

If the player, or his or her opponentOpponent: The person a player competes against in a match. The term opponent applies only in match play. 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), lifts the player’s 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.(...Continued) or causes it to move, (when the ball is lifted and not yet replacedReplace: To place a ball by setting it down and letting it go, with the intent for it to be in play.(...Continued)), the player or opponentOpponent: The person a player competes against in a match. The term opponent applies only in match play. gets one penalty stroke.

Exception - Rule 9.4b and 9.5b Exceptions Apply to Lifting or Moving Ball-Marker or Causing It to Move: In all cases where the player or opponentOpponent: The person a player competes against in a match. The term opponent applies only in match play. gets no penalty for lifting the player’s ball or accidentally causing it to moveMoved: When a 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).(...Continued), there is also no penalty for lifting or accidentally moving the player’s 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.(...Continued).

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.(...Continued) 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.(...Continued) in Breach of Rule 9.7: 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).