Rules Corner #6

Here we are going to look at your ball moving after you have preferred your lie, as well as accidentally moving your ball or marker on the green, and what to do around piles of branches/sticks.

Scenario 11. Recently, Nigel Bles was playing the 2nd and his second shot found the middle of the fairway, near the top of that slope that runs down to the creek. He preferred his lie, went back to his cart for a club, and the ball moved and rolled down the hill, stopping on the flat, albeit in an old divot. After considerable discussion with fellow players, he played the ball from where it finally came to rest. Did he make the right call?

In Scenario 8, we noted that if your ball moves in the process of marking it, then you replace it with no penalty. But if you have marked/replaced it and it subsequently moves, then you must play it as it lies, even if it is closer to the hole (remember we talked about drop zones? Your ball can roll closer to the hole, but only two clublengths!). So Nigel was 100% correct. If it had rolled into the creek, tough luck. If this happened up near the green, and your ball rolled 70 metres back down the hill, tough luck. If your ball is at rest on the green and the wind blows it off the green and into a hazard, tough luck. On the other hand, it is blown into the hole, good luck; you have holed out with your previous stroke.

Scenario 12. A couple of requests for clarification have come in:

·       If your ball, or its marker, is accidentally moved in the process of marking/replacing, then there is no penalty and you must replace your ball/marker. Otherwise you cop a one stroke penalty and replace it [Rule20-1, page 95], UNLESS there is a local rule about such accidental movements, which we DO have at Springwood: our local rule is: When a player’s ball is at rest on (or has been lifted from) the putting green, there is no penalty if the ball or ball marker is accidentally moved by the player, partner, opponent, or any of their caddies or equipment. The ball or ball marker must be replaced.

·       What if your ball comes to rest among a pile of sticks/branches? Can be tricky. If it is clear that the material is “piled for removal”, then it is GUR and you are entitled to relief [Definition, page 35]. But, if the material or grass clippings are “abandoned”, then it is not GUR. Tough luck.

If you have a scenario to share, please let us know and we will discuss it in a future RULES CORNER.

Richard Best      mobile: 0403 285 403    email:

Mark Smith       mobile: 0408 461 807    email:

Claire MurrayComment