Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Ask Linda #1507-Players exchange balls in stroke play

Hi Linda.
Could you enlighten me on this one please? Playing in a stroke play event on the weekend, player A hits his ball into the rough, player B is on the fairway. Player A hits his ball back onto the fairway so he has played 2. Player B hits his ball onto the green for 2. Then player A follows suit but playing 3. On reaching the green the two players realised that they played each other's ball from the fairway. I was then asked what the situation was. I explained that we should finish off the hole with the wrong ball and add 2 penalty shots to our score. Was this the right decision?
Many thanks once again. 
Lou from Wales, UK

Dear Lou,

No. When you hit another player’s ball, you have played a wrong ball. The penalty in stroke play is two strokes for each player, and the error must be corrected. Both you and your fellow competitor must return to the spot where each ball originally lay (your best estimate) on the fairway. Drop a ball on that estimated spot and complete the hole. Do not count the strokes made while playing the wrong ball [Rule 15-3b].

If you do not correct this mistake before teeing off on the next hole (or before leaving the green of the last hole in your round), you are disqualified.

In match play, the penalty for hitting a wrong ball is loss of hole. The first player who hit a wrong ball would incur the penalty. If it is not possible to determine which player hit a wrong ball first, there is no penalty and the hole must be played out with the balls exchanged [Rule 15-3a].

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