Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Ask Linda #1503-Practice swing on tee moves ball

Hi Linda,
I have a question please.
A competitor places the ball on a tee on the teeing ground for his first shot. He stands ready for the shot but with the club head not on the ball but very close to it.
He takes a practice swing, which is a full swing but for him it is a practice swing. By mistake he touches the ball with the toe of the club and the ball runs 90 degrees to the direction of swing.
What is the rule and why please.
Thanks & Regards,
Lou from Israel

Dear Lou,

A ball is not “in play” until the player has made a stroke at it from the teeing ground [Definition of “Ball in Play”]. A practice swing is not a stroke, since there is no intention to hit the ball [Definition of “Stroke”].

When a player tees up his ball on the teeing ground, and accidentally moves his ball with a practice swing, he incurs no penalty for moving the ball because the ball is not in play. He may retrieve the ball or place another one on the tee [Decision 18-2/19].

The ruling is different for a ball in play. After the player has made his first stroke on the hole (including a whiff, which counts as a stroke since the player intended to hit the ball), he will incur a one-stroke penalty if he accidentally moves his ball in play with a practice swing, and he must replace the ball [Decision 18-2/20].

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