No.96 Causing Own Ball to Move
 

 
Question 1:
Is a penalty incurred when a player accidentally causes their ball to move in each of the following circumstances?
a) In measuring the distance from the hole to an unmarked ball on the putting green (see photo - the ball has been moved by the flapping flag).
b) Removing a loose impediment lying next to the ball on the putting green.
c) Removing a loose impediment lying next to the ball on the fairway.


Answer 1:
a) No. Rule 18-6 and Rule 18-2a below.
b) No. Rule 23-1 and Rule 18-2a below.
c) Yes, one stroke penalty. The ball must be replaced. Rule 18-2a.

Part of Rule 18-2a states;
Under the Rules there is no penalty if a player accidentally causes his ball to move in the following circumstances:
  • In searching for a ball covered by sand, in the replacement of loose impediments moved in a hazard while finding or identifying a ball, in probing for a ball lying in water in a water hazard or in searching for a ball in an obstruction or an abnormal ground condition - Rule 12-1
  • In repairing a hole plug or ball mark - Rule 16-1c
  • In measuring - Rule 18-6
  • In lifting a ball under a Rule - Rule 20-1
  • In placing or replacing a ball under a Rule - Rule 20-3a
  • In removing a loose impediment on the putting green - Rule 23-1
  • In removing movable obstructions - Rule 24-1
  • __________



    Question 2:
    Is a penalty incurred when a player whose ball lies in a bunker accidentally causes their ball to move in each of the following circumstances?
    a) In removing a stone from the bunker, when there is a Local Rule declaring stones to be movable obstructions (see photo).
    b) In removing a wooden pencil from the bunker.
    c) In removing a rake from the bunker.
    d) In probing through leaves while searching for the ball in the bunker.

    Answer 2:
    a) No. Rule 24-1a.
    b) No. Rule 24-1a. A pencil is a movable obstruction.
    c) No. Rule 24-1a. A rake is a movable obstruction.
    d) Yes. Rule 12-1b, as revised 1st January 2012.


    Part of Rule 24-1a states;
    a. If the ball does not lie in or on the obstruction, the obstruction may be removed. If the ball moves, it must be replaced, and there is no penalty, provided that the movement of the ball is directly attributable to the removal of the obstruction. Otherwise, Rule 18-2a applies.
    Note: Question 2 d) is a tricky one. Part of Rule 12-1b, which was introduced on 1st January 2012, states;
    If the ball is moved during the touching or moving of loose impediments while searching for or identifying the ball, Rule 18-2a applies; if the ball is moved during the replacement of the loose impediments, there is no penalty and the ball must be replaced.
    Note: The consequence of this amendment is that the ruling for moving a ball covered by loose impediments (e.g. leaves, but not sand) during search, is now exactly the same when it lies in a hazard as when it lies through the green, incurring a penalty stroke under Rule 18-2a. Note in the first circumstance in the part of Rule 18-2a quoted after Question 1 above, that there is no penalty if a player accidentally moves their ball when searching for it if it is covered in sand anywhere on the course. Previously, if a player believed his ball was completely embedded in a sand dune (i.e., not a bunker), he was not allowed to move sand to search for the ball as doing so would be a breach of Rule 13-2 (by improving the lie of the ball). This new permission addresses rare instances, but it too removes dissimilarity in the Rules.

    Question 3:
    As part of his pre-putt routine a player grounds his putter in front of his ball and as he lifts it to ground it again behind the ball he sees it move a dimple or more to the side. There is no wind and the area around his ball is flat.
    a) Has the player addressed his ball?
    b) Does he incur a penalty?
    c) Does he play the ball from where it moved to?

     
    Answer 3:
    a) Yes. Definition of Addressing the Ball, as revised 1st January 2012.
    b) Yes, a one stroke penalty. Decision 18-2b/5.7, as revised 1st January 2012.
    c) No. He must replace the ball, Rule 18-2b.
     

    Another 'Rhodes Rules School' Q&A will follow next week,
     
    Good golfing,