Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Ask Linda #1099-Two balls collide

I thought this would be a simple question, but I cannot find a straightforward answer.

Two of our members are playing stroke play. Both are on the putting green when, at exactly the same time, they putt, unaware of each other, and their balls collide. What is the penalty and do they replace their balls?

Would the penalty be different if both hit at the same time and balls collide but one hit from off the green?

What would happen if it were match play?

What would the penalty be if both were on the fairway and hit at the same time and balls collide?

Thank you.
Lulu from Perth, Australia

Dear Lulu,

The answer is in Rule 19-5b, which explains what to do when a ball in motion is struck by another ball in motion.

When the collision takes place off the green, both players must play the ball as it lies, with no penalty to either player.

When the collision takes place on the green, both strokes are canceled. Both players must replace and replay, with no penalty to either player.

When the collision is between a ball that was hit from off the green with a ball in motion on the green, the ball from off the green is played as it lies, and the ball that was on the green must be replaced and replayed. Again, no penalty to either player.

The Rule is the same for both match play and stroke play.

I have to add that both players should be paying more attention to each other. While fast play should be encouraged and commended, no one is ready to take the desperate measure of suggesting everyone hit at the same time. Order of play can be very significant on the putting green. There is always some knowledge to be gained by watching someone else’s putt. Plus, if you wait your turn, you won’t have to worry about finding the pertinent Rule.

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