Wednesday, October 30, 2013

What if an Outside Agency Moves Your Golf Ball?

What if something, other than another player on the course, moves your golf ball? Well, it can happen. For example, a bird might land on a putting green and then move your ball a few yards; and perhaps even off the green.

Were that to happen then the bird is an 'outside agency.' It is stated in the R&A guidelines that, "if a ball at rest is moved by an outside agency, the player shall incur no penalty and the ball shall be replaced before the players plays another stroke." Thus, you can replace the golf ball; and place it back where it was.

However, a moving ball could still be moved by an outside agency on the putting green. The R&A book states, "If a ball in motion after a stroke on the putting green is deflected or stopped by ... any moving or animate outside agency.... the stroke shall be canceled, the ball replaced and the stroke replayed." Once again you pretty much get a free drop.

What if a ball not on the green is moved in motion? R&A guidelines state, "If a ball in motion is accidentally deflected or stopped by any outside agency, it is a rub of the green, no penalty is incurred and the ball shall be played as it lies." That is unless the ball lands in lake or something; in which case you'll probably have to drop ball.

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