Thursday, January 6, 2011

Ask Linda #270-Cleaning the ball

Dear Linda,
Firstly, my apology for seeking clarifications from you on an old item which was raised in January 2008. The subject was "Ask Linda #23 - cleaning the ball" and the second paragraph starts with this sentence: "When the rules permit you to take relief from an immovable obstruction, such as a fence, you are not permitted to clean the ball."
To my knowledge, when a player takes relief from either a movable or an immovable obstruction, he is allowed to clean his ball. I have validated it in rules 24-1 and 24-2, and it includes this sentence: "The ball may be cleaned when lifted for relief under Rule 24-1b" or "...Rule 24-2b".
Hence, I would appreciate if you could comment on your response in #23.
Thank you and best regards.
Lou Lou

Dear Lou Lou,
It is I who must apologize and who must thank you for your diligence. You are absolutely correct–you are permitted to clean a ball when taking relief from a movable or immovable obstruction. I have corrected the information in Ask Linda #23.

This would be a good time to review the rules regarding cleaning the ball for everyone:

You are always permitted to clean your ball on the putting green. You may clean a ball that has been lifted at any other time except in the following three circumstances:

1. determining whether the ball is unfit for play [Rule 5-3];

2. identifying the ball [Rule 12-2–you may only wipe off the least amount of debris necessary to see your markings];

3. lifting a ball because it is assisting or interfering with play [Rule 22].

The penalty for cleaning the ball under the three circumstances listed above is one stroke.

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