Lou from California
Friday, March 24, 2017
Ask Linda #1498-Ball placed on green rolls far away
Quick question for you on a golf rule that I haven’t been able to find: I had an approach shot embed in the face of a sloped green. Once I removed the ball from the crater and repaired the ball mark, I found that I could not get the ball to stay put when I tried to replace it (due to the slope of the green). If I let it roll, it literally would have rolled about 30 feet away; the closest spot where the ball would not roll was probably 10 feet away (and not sure if that would have been at the bottom or top of the slope). Not knowing what the rule was for this case, I ended up pushing the ball into the green just hard enough to keep it from rolling. I could easily see the same issue coming up in sloped fairways when playing "lift, clean, & place." Just so I know for next time, what is the correct ruling for this case?
The Rule you are looking for is 20-3d: “Ball Fails to Come to Rest on Spot.” When you place a ball, and it rolls away, you must try to place it a second time. If it won’t stay put after the second try, you must place it at the nearest spot where it will stay still that is no closer to the hole.
The Rules do not permit pressing the ball into the ground to keep it from moving. Doing so would be a breach of Rule 1-2, and the player would incur a two-stroke penalty in stroke play, loss of hole in match play [Decision 1-2/9].
Note that if you place the ball and it comes to rest, and subsequently moves, you must play the ball from its new position, even if that new position is 30 feet away or 10 feet closer.
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