I would be most grateful if you could provide a ruling on a situation that arose recently within our club.
A player’s ball was struck into a rough scrub area and subsequently found by a playing partner.
The partner lifted the ball declaring it unplayable before the player had seen the lie and passed it to the player.
The ball was then dropped realistically within 2 club-lengths of the estimated lie and the hole played out with a penalty of 1 shot incurred.
A decision on the player and the partner lifting the ball and any other comments on etiquette would be much appreciated.
Dear Lou Lou,
The player is the only person who may deem his ball unplayable. The player incurred a one-stroke penalty when his partner lifted the ball [Rule 18-2a]. The player would be entitled to replace the ball or declare it unplayable. If he decides to declare the ball unplayable, he incurs an additional penalty stroke under Rule 28 (Ball Unplayable).
Needless to say, while good etiquette dictates that you assist players in the search for a ball, the wise and careful player always points out a found ball from a distance and allows the player in question to identify it and decide how to play it. While it is not always a penalty to touch or move another player’s ball, you will always be correct if you keep your hands to yourself.
Copyright © 2010 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.