Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Ask Linda #1428-Ball ricochets off tree into moving cart

Hi Linda,
During stroke play the other day my partner hit her ball out of a bunker. It looked like a great shot so I started driving over to pick her up. But unbeknownst to me her ball hit a tree and ricocheted backwards hitting our cart as I was driving. I believe that if you hit your own cart you incur a one-stroke penalty.  But what would be the ruling in this case?
Lulu from New Jersey

Dear Lulu,

Your partner incurs a one-stroke penalty and must play the ball as it lies [Rule 19-2]. At the time the ball struck the cart, the cart and everything in it were deemed to be your equipment, since you were moving the cart at the time [Definition of “Equipment”]. However, you were the partner of the player who hit the ball, and there is a one-stroke penalty when a player’s ball is accidentally deflected by her partner’s equipment. The fact that the ball ricocheted off a tree before it hit the cart is irrelevant.

If the two players had not been partners, there would be no penalty in stroke play and the ball would be played as it lies [Rule 19-4]. In match play, the player would have the choice of playing the ball as it lies or replaying the shot, no penalty either way [Rule 19-3]. When a ball strikes a moving cart, the cart and its contents are deemed to be the equipment of the driver, who in this case is not your partner. On the other hand, if your ball strikes the cart while it is parked, the cart is now considered your equipment and you incur a one-stroke penalty for hitting your own equipment.  

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