Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Ask Linda #1668-Move ball, don’t replace: How many penalty strokes?

Dear Linda,
Just one question...

1.  Player makes practice swing at a “ball in play”; and ball moves.
2. He fails to replace it (no advantage gained) and takes a shot from “wrong place.” 

I am arguing that the penalty shots are compounded and a penalty of 3 shots should be added to score. Others say 2 penalty shots.

Can you please advise?

Lou from Wrexham, North Wales, UK

Dear Lou,

The “others” are correct. When you accidentally move your ball in play and fail to replace it before you hit it, the penalty is two strokes in stroke play, loss of hole in match play. If you replace the ball before you hit it, the penalty is only one stroke. Please read the “Penalty for Breach of Rule” in the rulebook at the end of Rule 18.

This answer is based on your statement that no advantage was gained. If the player’s practice swing had moved the ball to a more advantageous spot (perhaps out from behind a tree or significantly closer to the hole), his playing from a wrong place might be a serious breach. If he suspects a serious breach, he should play two balls and report the facts to the Committee before returning his scorecard [Rule 20-7c].

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