Friday, November 27, 2015

Ask Linda #1200-Move ball while moving sand on green

Dear Linda,

A player marks his ball on the green and then replaces the ball in front of the marker. Before picking up his marker he notices some sand in front of the ball and leans over to brush it away with the back of his hand. In doing so he accidentally moves his ball.

I understand that once you replace your ball, even if the marker is still in place, the ball is in play and consequently under Rule 18-2b you would be subject to a one-stroke penalty for causing the ball to move and it would have to be replaced.

However, after reading Decision 23-1/12 (2014-2015 edition), although the circumstances are not exactly the same, I interpret this Decision to mean that even if the ball is in play, there is no penalty if you accidentally move your ball in the process of removing loose impediments.

Am I correct in my interpretation of this rule/decision under these circumstances?

Lou from Bermuda

Dear Lou,

I commend you on your excellent research. Yes, you are correct. If you accidentally move your ball on the putting green while removing loose impediments, there is no penalty and you must replace the ball [Rule 23-1].

Please remember the following:

1. Sand and loose soil are only defined as loose impediments on the putting green. You may not brush them away on other areas of the golf course (unless they arrive after your ball comes to rest).

2. If you move your ball elsewhere on the golf course in the process of moving a loose impediment, the penalty is one stroke and you must replace the ball.

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