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RULES & DECISIONS of Golf 2010-2011 -
Royal & Ancient of St. Andrews. No. 4.


GOLF TERMINOLOGY

Wrong Ball – Any ball that is not your playing ball. Hitting a wrong ball invokes a penalty of two strokes and your ball must then be played from its original lie. Your ball hit by another player or moved by another ball – replace your ball without penalty. Rule 15.

Wrong Place – A player has played from a wrong place when the player makes a stroke at a ball in play on a part of the course where the rules do not permit a stroke to be played or a ball to be dropped or placed. Penalties involved if not corrected before the stroke is made.

Identifying Ball. The responsibility for playing the proper ball rests with the player themselves. Each player should put an identifying mark on their ball.

‘Rub of the Green’. Is a golf term used to describe the general fortunes, good and bad, of a ball in motion which has struck objects directly or accidental during its path. Occurs when a ball in motion is accidentally deflected or stopped by any outside agency. Rule 19-1

Ball Drop. All ball lifting and all ball drops under a golf rule must have the consent of the marker.

Failure to notify incurs a 2 stroke penalty.

‘Integral Part of the Course’. – A general golf term that refers to all those essential natural and artificial fixed objects that constitute the fundamental structures that form a playing golf course.

Loose Impediments. Are natural objects, formed by nature but are not fixed or growing or stuck to the ball. Stones, leaves, twigs, branches, worms, insects and insect casts and heaps made by them. May be lifted at anytime except all hazards, where it’s play as it lies.

Movable Obstruction Any ‘artificial’ (man made) loose object that can be moved without unreasonable effort without causing undue delay and/or damage.. Car (with keys), motor mower, tin cans, booklets, rakes, hoses, cables, bucket, tee, score card. litter etc

Immovable Obstructions. Are ‘artificial’ man made objects, that are fixed or not so easily moved. Fixed and temporary buildings, sheds, toilets, fountains, taps, sprinkler heads, stakes, roads and paths etc, except objects marking Out of Bounds. Relief – stance and swing but not line of sight.

Hazards – A hazard is any ‘Bunker’ or ‘Water Hazard’. Prohibited Actions. (a) Test the condition of the hazard. (b) Touch the ground in a hazard or water in a water hazard with a hand or club. (c) Touch or move a loose impediment lying in or touching the hazard.

Bunker. Is a hazard consisting of a prepared area of ground, often a hollow from which turf or soil has been removed and replaced with sand or the like. A ball in a bunker when it lies in or any part of it touches the bunker. Loose impediments cannot be lifted or moved.

Penalty Stroke. Is a stroke or strokes added to the score of a player or side under certain rule breaches.

Substituted Ball. Is a replacement ball during a hole under the rules, where a players ball has been damaged, lost or unable to be recovered, which then becomes the ball in play. Rule 15-2. A ball replaced not under the rules incurs a 2 stroke penalty.

Golf Quip: It's not a 'gimme' if you're still away.
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RULES & DECISIONS of Golf 2010-2011 -
Royal & Ancient of St. Andrews. No. 5


Q. Do Singles Have the Right to Play Through?

Does a golfer playing alone have to yield to all other groups on the golf course despite being faster? Say, you are playing in a foursome. Several holes in front of your group are open. A single catches up to your group. Should your group:

(a) Offer to let the single play through
(b) Ignore the single, because singles have no standing on the golf course

A. The correct answer is - or should be – (a) If you answered (b) then you are one of those golfers who mistakenly believes that the rulebook says golfers playing alone have no rights on the course.

And you probably have this belief because the Etiquette section of the Official Rules of Golf used to say just that! In fact, it said exactly this:

"A single player has no standing and should give way to a match of any kind."

John Hutchinson, who runs the Web site RulesHistory.com  explains the reasoning behind that old statement by the R&A and USGA:

"Up to that time, priority went in numerical order - four-ball gave way to three-ball, etc. The basis of this plan was that fewer players were presumed to be faster, and singles were (presumed to be) merely practicing, not competing."

But note above that we said the rulebook used to include the statement about singles having no standing. That's because it no longer does; and, in fact, it now says the opposite.

The statement "a single player has no standing and should give way to a match of any kind" was removed from the Official Rules of Golf in revisions for the 2004 edition, when, Hutchinson notes, "the emphasis changed to how fast any particular group were playing, regardless of the number in the group."

In other words, beginning in 2004, the etiquette guidelines in the rulebook said that speed of play - regardless of how many golfers are in any particular group - determines whether a group should be allowed to play through.

But is a single a group? The 2004 revisions clearly implied that the USGA and R&A consider a single a "group," but did not explicitly state that. So another revision, in 2008, clarified that point and explicitly stated that a single is a "group," and has the same rights as any other group.

Here is what now appears in the Etiquette guidelines of the Official Rules of Golf:

In the "Pace of Play" section: "It is a group's responsibility to keep up with the group in front. If it loses a clear hole and it is delaying the group behind, it should invite the group behind to play through, irrespective of the number of players in that group."

In the "Priority on the Course" section: "Unless otherwise determined by the Committee, priority on the course is determined by a group's pace of play. Any group playing a whole round is entitled to pass a group playing a shorter round. The term 'group' includes a single player."

So, once and for all, a single on the course deserves the same consideration as any other group of golfers, according to the USGA and the R&A.

Because many golfers are still unaware of the changes to the rulebook in this area, is that most golfers who answer "B" to the question posed up at the top of this article do so because they simply aren't aware that the guidelines have changed.

It should also be noted that a golf course sets its own policies regarding groupings. Some courses that are particularly busy on weekends and holidays might require all groups to be foursomes. Show up alone at one of those courses and you'll have to wait until other golfers come along to be paired with.

Also, a golfer who begins his or her round alone should always be prepared to pair up with other players during the round if the overall pace of play slows down and the single catches up to another single, a twosome or a threesome, and there is no opening ahead of that group.

Quip: A good golf partner is one who's always slightly worse than you are. If you get a lot of invites to play, now you know why.

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RULES & DECISIONS of Golf 2010-2011
Royal & Ancient of St. Andrews. No. 6b


PROVISIONAL BALL. - RULE 27-2.

1. A ball may be lost outside a Water hazard or may be Out of Bounds, to save time, the player may play another ball provisionally in accordance with Rule 27-1.

The player must inform his opponent in match play or his marker or a fellow competitor in stroke play that he intends to play a provisional ball, and he must play it before he or his partner goes forward to search for the original ball.

From the tee, the provisional ball is to be teed after all fellow players have teed off. (Rule 10-3)

Another ball played without advising, is not a provisional ball and becomes the ball in play under a penalty of one stroke and distance under Rule 27-1.

A player may play a provisional ball until he reaches an area level with the place where the original ball is likely to be. If he further makes a stroke with the provisional ball beyond that place, the provisional ball becomes the ball in play and the original ball is declared lost. Penalty one stroke and distance Rule 27-1.

2. When Provisional Ball becomes Ball in Play

If the original ball is lost (unfound within 5 minute search Rule 27-1) outside a water hazard or out of bounds the provisional ball becomes the ball in play.

(a) A ball found after a 5 minutes search is a lost ball, and the provisional ball becomes the ball in play under a penalty of one stroke and distance. Rule 27-1.

(b) A player has decided to proceed and played his provisional ball before the 5 minute search time has expired. The original ball is subsequently found within the 5 minutes search time. The provisional ball is now the ball in play by the decision to play on and the original ball becomes a lost ball. Rule 27-1 – Penalty of one stroke and distance.

The provisional ball is now the ball in play and the original ball is out of play, and to make a stroke using the original ball as in (a) or (b) is to be hitting a Wrong Ball. Rule 15-3b. A two stroke penalty in addition to the lost ball penalty stroke and distance ruling. If not corrected before hitting off the next tee, a disqualification.

Note 1. – Subsequent strokes or penalties using a wrong ball before rule correction are not counted as score  strokes.

Note 2. - To play a drop ball where the rule (Rule 27-1) does not permit, is hitting a ball from a Wrong Place.

Rule 20-7c applies. Thus a competitor making a stroke from a wrong place, incurs a penalty of two strokes. He must play out the hole with the ball played from a wrong place, without correcting the error, provided he has not committed a serious breach

Note – A competitor is deemed to have committed a serious breach of the applicable rule, if he has gained a significant advantage as the result of playing from a wrong place. If not corrected before hitting off the next tee, a disqualification.

Q. Do I Get to Drop Out of a Bunker that's Filled with Water?

A. Only if you're willing to take a one stroke penalty.

If your ball comes to rest in casual water within a bunker, you may drop without penalty at the nearest point of relief within the bunker, no nearer the hole. That applies no matter what the condition is of the rest of the bunker.

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RULES & DECISIONS of Golf 2010-2011
Royal & Ancient of St. Andrews. No. 9.


Entering Clubhouse or Half-Way House for Refreshments During Round. DECISION 6-8a/2.7

Q. May a player, between the play of two holes, enter the clubhouse or a ‘halfway house” to obtain a

refreshment. If he then proceeds immediately to the next tee and consumes the food or/and drink while

continuing the round.


A. Yes. A player may enter the clubhouse or half-way house without penalty (see Note to Rule 6-8a)

Note - Rule 6-8a: Leaving the course does not in itself constitute discontinuance of play.

However, the player must not unduly delay either his own play or that of his opponent or any other competitor (Rule 6-7)

Determining “Nearest Point of Relief ( From an Immovable Obstruction) DECISION 24-2b/1

Q. The Note to the Definition of “Nearest Point of Relief” provides that the player should determine this point by using “the club with which he would have made his next stroke if the condition were not there to simulate the address position, direction of play and swing for such stroke.” May the player use any club, address position, direction of play or swing in determining them nearest point of relief?.

A. No. In determining the nearest point of relief accurately it is recommended that the player use the club, address position, direction of play and swing (right or left handed) that he would have used had the

obstruction or condition not been there. For example, the player has interference from an immovable obstruction and, were it not for the obstruction, he would have used a right handed stroke with a 4-iron to play the ball from its original position towards the green. To determine the nearest point of relief accurately, he should use a 4-iron and the direction of play should be towards the green.

Notes :- (a) Objects denoting Out of Bounds (Fences, Walls. Stakes etc) are not immovable obstructions
but are determined as fixed objects and no relief is offered.

(b) No relief is offered from an Immovable Obstruction in a water hazard (including a lateral Water hazard)

(c) No relief if Immovable Obstruction is in line of sight of intended play.

(d) Exception to Rule 24-2b; A player may not take relief under the rule if (i) it is clearly unreasonable for him to make a stroke because of interference by anything other than an immovable obstruction (See Q below) or (ii) interference by an immovable obstruction would occur only through use of an unnecessarily abnormal stance, swing or direction of play. Examples – Obvious unusual wide stance, larger than usual golf swing, unusual use of a larger golf club or an even an odd direction of play.

Q. A players ball lies between two exposed tree roots. The ball is clearly unplayable due to the roots. An immovable obstruction is so located that it would interfere with the player’s backswing if the player could play his ball. The player claims he is entitled to relief, without penalty, under rule 24-2b(i).

Is the player correct.


A. No, See Exception at (d) above. Ball between roots prevents any stroke in the first instance and therefore the player must use Rule 28 declaring an Unplayable Ball.

Golf Quip: If you want to hit a 7-iron as far as a scratch golfer, simply try to lay up with one just short of a water hazard.

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RULES & DECISIONS of Golf 2010-2011
Royal & Ancient of St. Andrews. N0. 9a.



Playing from Wrong Place. Rule 20-7

a. General

A player has played from a wrong place if he makes a stroke at his ball in play.

(i) on a part of the course where the Rules do not permit a stroke to be played or a ball to be dropped or placed; or
(ii) when the Rules require a dropped ball to be re-dropped or a moved ball to be replaced.

c. Stroke Play

If a competitor makes a stroke from a wrong place, he incurs a penalty of two strokes under the applicable Rule. He may play out the hole with the ball played from the wrong place, without correcting his error provided he has not committed a serious breach.

Note – Serious breach – A Wrong Place that gains significant advantage by avoiding, other existing interferences in line of play such as a bunker, hazard, trees, signs etc or advanced metreage towards the green as examples.

In such case – Along with the two stroke penalty the ball must be replayed from the correct place.

Strokes taken after hitting a wrong ball are nullified. If corrective action not taken to correct the error before hitting off the next tee the player is disqualified.

Mostly occur in returning a ball back into play under a Rule. Ball lifted, Ball lost, Out of bounds, Hazard or Obstruction, Abnormal Ground Conditions (GUR), Ball unplayable or per Drop Ball procedure.

Some examples of playing from a wrong place that incur a two stroke penalty..

(i) Putting from a ball marker on the green which had been temporary moved to remove interference from another competitors putting line and not replaced on original spot.
(ii) Hitting a ball from a ball drop outside number of club lengths allowed under a rule.
(iii) Hitting a ball from a ball drop that has runs more than two club lengths after striking course.
(iv) Ball drop using Rule 25-1c (GUR)- ball not found and not known or virtually certain ball entered GUR in lieu of Lost Ball Rule 27-1
(v) Ball dropped in Area where original Ball Lost – Player incurs the one penalty stoke of lost ball Rule 27-1 but also incurs an additional two stroke penalty for hitting from a wrong place.
(vi) Ball dropped outside bunker under option requiring drop in bunker. Declared Unplayable ball in bunker under Rule 28 b or 28c must be dropped within the bunker.
(vii) Ball in motion is deflected out of bounds, or into a hazard etc after striking green keeper equipment etc. Ball played at deflected position.

The deflection is classed as ‘rub of the green’ in golf and the ball must be played as it lies.

In these cases Out of Bounds Rule 27-1 , Hazard Rule 26 etc should have been applied.

(viii) Ball drop in a hazard mistakenly played ball under Unplayable Ball Rule 28 in lieu of Hazard - Rule 26 options
(viii) Playing Outside or from Wrong Teeing Ground. (All strokes prior to correction nullified)

Rule 11-4

Golf Quip: When you look up, causing an awful shot, you will always look down again at exactly the moment when you ought to start watching the ball if you ever want to see it again.

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RULES & DECISIONS of Golf 2010-2011
Royal and Ancient of St. Andrews No.9b

DROPPING AND RE-DROPPING. Rule 20-2

20-2c. When To Re-Drop

A dropped ball must be re-dropped without penalty if it:

(i) rolls into and comes to rest in a hazard.
(ii) rolls out of and comes to rest outside a hazard. (Hazard drop)
(iii) rolls onto and comes to rest on a putting green.
(iv) rolls and comes to rest out of bounds.
(v) rolls to and comes to rest in a position where there is interference by the condition from which relief was taken under Rule 24-2b (immovable obstruction), Rule 25-1 (abnormal ground conditions), Rule 25-3 (wrong putting green) or a Local Rule (Rule 33-8a) or rolls back into the pitch mark from which it was lifted under Rule 25-2 (embedded ball).
(vi) rolls and comes to rest more than two club-lengths from where it first struck a part of the course; or
(vii) rolls and comes to rest nearer the hole than;

(a) its original position or estimated position (see Rule 20-2b) unless otherwise permitted by the Rules; or
(b) the nearest point of relief or maximum available relief (Rule 24-2, 25-1 or 25-3); or
(c) the point where the original ball last crossed the margin of the water hazard or lateral water hazard (Rule 26-1).

The ball when re-dropped rolls into any position listed above (again), it must be placed as near as possible to the spot where it first struck a part of the course when re-dropped.

Note 1: If a ball when dropped or re-dropped comes to rest and subsequently moves, the ball must be played as it lies, unless the provisions of any other Rule apply.

Note 2: If a ball to be re-dropped or placed under this Rule is not immediately recoverable, another ball may be substituted.

Note 3: Not to re-drop from any of the above failures is striking a ball from a Wrong Place – a two stroke penalty Rule 20-7.

Changing Relief Option When Re-Dropping Required. DECISION 20-2c/5

Q. A Player declares his ball unplayable. Of the three options available under Rule 28 he elects Rule

28c and drops the ball within two club-lengths of the spot where it lay. The ball rolls and comes to rest nearer the hole than its original position, so the player is required by Rule 20-2c to re-drop. May the player now proceed under a different option. e.g. Rule 28b (Ball Unplayable)?

A. No. If the player did so, he would be in breach of Rule 20-2c. The same principles would apply

when proceeding under Rule 26-1.

Placing Ball Instead of Dropping When Obvious Dropped Ball Will Roll into Hazard, Etc. DECISION 20-2c/3

Q. A Player is required to drop a ball. However, it is obvious that the ball when dropped will roll into a hazard, more than two club-lengths, etc, in which case it must be re-dropped and then placed under Rule 20-2c. In such case, is it permissible to waive the dropping requirement and allow the player initially to place the ball.

A. No. Dropping and then re-dropping are necessary to resolve any doubt as to whether the ball will roll into the hazard, etc., and to establish the spot at which the ball must be placed, if necessary.

Dropped Ball Strikes Tree Branch Then Ground; Whether Re-Drop is Required. DECISION 20-2c/1.3

Q. A Player drops a ball within the area prescribed by the applicable Rule. It bounces off a tree branch and as a result strikes the ground outside that area. What is the ruling?

A. The ball struck a part of the course (the branch) where the applicable Rule requires (Rule 20-2c). Therefore, provided it does not roll into any of the positions listed in Rule 20-2c, it is in play and must not be re-dropped. In measuring two club-lengths to determine if a re-drop is required under Rule 20-2c(vi), the point on the ground immediately below the spot where the ball first struck a part of the course (the branch) shall be used for measuring purposes.

Golf Quip: Brand new golf balls are water-magnetic and, while this cannot be measured scientifically, the more expensive the ball, the greater this water-magnetism.

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RULES & DECISIONS of Golf 2010-2011
Royal & Ancient of St. Andrews. No. 10.

FLAGSTICK. - RULE !7.

Definition:- The ‘flagstick’ is a movable straight indicator, with or without bunting or other material attached, centered in the hole to show its position. It must be circular in cross-section. Padding or shock absorbent material that might unduly influence the movement of the ball is prohibited.

ATTENDING THE FLAG.

Before making a stroke from anywhere on the course, a player may have the flagstick attended, removed or held up to indicate the position of the hole.

If it is not attended before a player makes a stroke, it must not be attended while the player’s ball is in motion. So doing, the flag attended, removed or held up during the stroke, constitutes an intended influence on the motion of the ball and under Rule 1-2 (Exerting Influence on Ball ), a 2 stroke penalty to a player attending the flag.

If the flag is in the hole and anyone stands near it while a stroke is being made, he is deemed to be attending the flag

If, prior to the stroke, the flagstick is attended, removed or held up by anyone with the player’s knowledge and he makes no objection, the player is deemed to have authorized it.

An attendant of the flagstick whilst a stroke is being made, is deemed to be attending the flagstick until the ball comes to rest.

BALL STRIKING FLAGSTICK OR ATTENDANT.

The player’s ball must not strike:-

(a) The flagstick when it is attended, removed or held up.
(b) The person attending or holding up the flagstick or anything carried by him.
(c) The flagstick in the hole, unattended, when the stroke has been made from on the putting green.
(d) Unattended flagstick lying on the green, when the stroke has been made from on the putting green.

Penalty – Match play – Loss of hole, Stroke play – Two strokes and the ball must be played as it lies.

HOLDING FLAGSTICK BEST PRACTICE. (Hole location identification on the green)

The flagstick must be lifted clear of its normal central stationary position within the hole, and at arms length (so as not to trample green surface around the hole itself), place the flagstick upright within the hole and against the rear side of the hole. Note – This procedure negates the possibility of a sticking flagstick within the hole after a player has made a putting stroke, and the possibility of his ball striking the flagstick for a two stroke penalty.

Further, the flag attendant should show due courtesy by not standing on or casting a shadow on any players’ line of putt. The attendant may stand behind the hole to achieve same.

Q. You're playing a shot from off the green. Your ball rolls right at the cup. You just know it's going in. Then it hits the flagstick and ... just hangs there. Stuck. Pinned between the flagstick and the cup. Neither in nor out.

What's the ruling?

A. It's found in Rule 17-4. Carefully remove the flagstick. If you've been living right, the ball will drop into the cup and your previous shot is considered holed. But if you've been a bad boy or girl and, somehow, some way, the ball fails to drop into the cup, you must place the ball on the lip of the cup and putt out.

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RULES & DECISIONS of Golf 2010-2011
Royal & Ancient of St. Andrews. No. 11.

BALL UNPLAYABLE – RULE 28.

The player may deem his ball unplayable at any place on the course except when the ball is in a water hazard. The player is the sole judge as to whether his ball is unplayable.

If the player deems his ball to be unplayable, he must under a penalty of one stroke:

a. Play a ball as nearly as possible at the spot from which the original ball was last played (See Rule 20-5); or
b. Drop a ball behind the point where the ball lay, keeping that point directly between the hole and the spot on which the ball is dropped, with no limit to how far behind that point the ball may be dropped; or
c. Drop a ball within two club lengths of the spot where the ball lay, but not nearer the hole.

If the unplayable ball is in a bunker, the player may proceed under Clause a, b or c, a ball must be dropped in the bunker.

Breach of Rule – Match play – Loss of hole, Stroke play – Two strokes.

Proceeding under this Rule, the player may lift and clean his ball or substitute a ball.

Player misses the Ball and deems it Unplayable. DECISION 28/7.

Q. A player’s tee shot comes to rest in tree roots. He makes a stroke, fails to move the ball and then deems the ball unplayable. May the player return to the tee, playing 4, under Rule 28a?

A. No. Rule 28a permits the player to play “a ball…. at the spot from which the original ball was last played”. The original ball was last played from the tree roots, not the tee.

Ball Dropped Outside of Bunker Under Option Requiring Drop in Bunker. DECISION 28/10.

Q. In stroke play, a competitor deems his ball unplayable in a bunker and, purporting to proceed under Rule 28b or
28c, drops a ball outside the bunker and plays it. What is the ruling?


A. In this case, Rules 28b and 28c require that the ball be dropped in and played from the bunker. Generally, if the ball is played from outside the bunker, the penalty should be disqualification for serious breach of Rule 28, unless rectified under Rule 20-7c. However, the position of the ball after it is dropped out of the bunker is not substantially different from what it would have been if the competitor had invoked the stroke-and-distance option under Rule 28a, he incurs the penalty stroke prescribed by Rule 28 and an additional penalty of two strokes for a breach of that Rule, rather than disqualification.

When necessary to Find and Identify Ball deemed Unplayable. DECISION 28/1

Q. A player hits his tee shot into a deep canyon. The player immediately deems the ball unplayable and plays another ball from the tee under the stroke-and-distance option of Rule 28. May a player deem unplayable a ball which has not been found.

A. Yes. A player may proceed under the stroke-and-distance option (Rule 28a) without finding the ball. However, since Rules 28b and 28c require reference to where the ball lay, the player must find and identify his ball to proceed under either of these options.

Misnomer: When a ball comes to rest under a large bush, some golfers think they can measure the 2 club lengths from the edge of the bush. This is WRONG — the 2 club lengths MUST be measured from the ball’s position.

Golf Quip: Jack Lemmon: "If you think it's hard to meet new people, try picking up the wrong golf ball."

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RULES & DECISIONS of Golf 2010-2011
Royal & Ancient of St. Andrews. N0. 11a.

Description: Ball Drop0001

Nearest Point of Relief -

The “nearest point of relief” must be strictly interpreted. A player is not permitted to choose on which side of the ground under repair (GUR) they will drop the ball, unless there are two equidistant “nearest points of relief”. Even if one side of the ground under repair is fairway and the other is bushes, if the “nearest point of relief” is in the bushes then the player, if taking relief, must drop the ball within one club length of that point, even though they may have to drop the ball in a virtually unplayable lie.

The same procedure applies under Rule 24-2b dealing with Immovable Obstructions.

Note – Converse to the detrimental result mentioned above, on the occasion a correct taking of a “nearest point of relief” of Rule 25-1b gives an improved line of play, avoids a bunker or tall tree, on fairway this is to their good fortune.

But however, if a player drops a ball at a wrong place to accomplish the avoidance of such interference and makes a stroke, they incur the penalty of two strokes and a more serious breach, if not thus corrected before the next tee off they are disqualified.

Note– ‘Nearest point of relief’ as stated means relief from under a Rule from an immovable obstruction, GUR etc, not everything on the course. Hence trees, bushes etc free of the obstruction etc, are natural integral parts of the course as fixed objects and get no relief.

Therefore, insure your options before lifting your ball as hitting the ball as it lies may be the best option. If you have lifted your ball, it cannot be replaced as the act of lifting your ball declares an already enacted decision.

Q. Can you list the situations when a player is permitted to clean the ball.

A. A player may clean their ball at any time when it has been lifted under a Rule of golf, except for when it has been lifted under Rule 5-3 (Ball unfit for Play), Rule 12-2 (Identifying Ball) and Rule 22 (Ball interfering with or assisting play) – player asked to mark ball.

Note – the act of putting the ball in your pocket constitutes cleaning the ball or of similar action. Yes a penalty of one stroke.

Golf Quip: There are two kinds of bounces; unfair bounces and bounces just the way you meant to play it.

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RULES & DECISIONS of Golf 2010-2011
Royal and Ancient of St. Andrews No.6a


CASUAL WATER DEFINITION

“Casual Water” is any temporary accumulation of water on the course that is not in a water hazard and is visible before or after the player takes his stance. Snow and natural ice, other than frost, are either casual water or loose impediments, at the option of the player. Manufactured ice is an obstruction. Dew and frost are not casual water.

A ball is in casual water when it lies in or any part of it touches the casual water.

Soft Mushy Earth - Decision 25/1

Q. Is soft, mushy earth casual water.

A. No. Soft, mushy earth is not casual water unless water is visible on the surface before or after the player takes his stance.

You do not get relief simply because your ball comes to rest on ground that is very wet or spongy. An accumulation of water must be visible above ground.

Dew and frost are not casual water; snow and natural ice (other than frost) can be casual water or loose impediments, at the player's option. Ice cubes or other manufactured ice is considered as movable obstructions.

Overflow from Water Hazard - Decision 25/2

Q. If a pond (water hazard) has overflowed, is the overflow casual water.

A. Yes. Any overflow of water from a water hazard which is outside the margin of the hazard is casual water.

Pitch-Mark Filled with Casual Water - Decision 25/3

Q. A Player’s ball plugged deeply in the short rough. No casual water was visible on the surface, but the pitch-mark in which the ball came to rest was filled with water. Was the player’s ball in casual water. Short Rough – a mowed area cut to same height as fairway in the rough – say a pedestrian path.

A. Yes.

Water Visible as Result of Undue Effort with Feet - Decision 25/4

Q. In a wet area, casual water is not visible before or after the player takes his stance However by pressing down hard with one foot, the player causes water to appear around the sole of his shoe. Is the player entitled to relief under Rule 25-1b.

A. No. Water visible through undue effort with the feet is not casual water.

Casual Water on Putting Green Visible When Player Walks Beside Line of Putt - But Not Visible Elsewhere - Decision 25/5.

Q. A Player’s ball lies on a putting green. Casual water is not visible on the green. However, when the player walks beside his line of putt, casual water is visible around the player’s feet. Is the player entitled to relief.

A. Not unless there is casual water visible around the player’s feet when he takes his stance.

Golf Quip: There are two kinds of bounces; unfair bounces and bounces just the way you meant to play it.

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DECISIONS on the Rules of Golf 2010-2011
Royal & Ancient of St. Andrews. N0. 12.


BALL AT REST MOVED - RULE 18.

By Player, Partner, Caddie or Equipment. - Rule 18-2.

a. General.

Except as permitted by the Rules, when a player’s ball at rest in play, is moved by

(i) The player, his partner or either of their caddies:

· lifts or moves the ball
· touches it purposely (except with a club in the act of addressing the ball, or
· causes the ball to move

(ii) the equipment of the player or his partner causes the ball to move.

The player incurs a penalty of one stroke and the ball must be replaced.

(Unless the movement of the ball occurs after the player has begun the stroke or the backward movement of the club for the stroke and the stoke is made).

Under the Rules there is no penalty if a player accidentally causes his ball to move in the following circumstances.

· In searching for a ball covered by sand,

In the replacement of loose impediments moved in a hazard.

While finding or identifying a ball.
In probing for a ball lying in water in a water hazard or
In searching for a ball in an obstruction or an abnormal ground condition - Rule 12-1.

(Searching for and Identifying Ball)

· In repairing a hole plug or ball mark - Rule 16-1c. (The Putting Green)
· In measuring - Rule 18-6 (Ball Moved in Measuring)
· In lifting a ball under a Rule – Rule 20-1 (Lifting and Marking)
· In placing or replacing a ball under a Rule – Rule 20-3a (Placing and Replacing – Ball Drop)
· In removing a loose impediment on the putting green – Rule 23-1 (Loose Impediments)
· In removing movable obstructions. – Rule 24-1 (Obstructions)

By Fellow Competitor, Caddie or Equipment in Stroke Play – Rule 18-4.

If a fellow competitor, his caddie or his equipment moves the player’s ball, touches it or causes it to move, there is no penalty. If the ball is moved, it must be replaced.

Note - If not replaced, before next stroke in either of above – Match play - Loss of hole, Stroke play – a 2 stroke penalty.

Player Who Misses Tee Shot Tees Ball Lower Before Making Next Stroke – DICISION 18-2a/1

Q. A player playing from the tee ground misses the ball completely. He pushes his tee further into the ground and plays. What is the ruling.

A. When the player made a stroke, the ball is now in play (see Definition of ‘Ball in Play’). By pushing the tee further into the ground, he moved the ball and incurred a penalty of one stroke under Rule 18-2a and was required to replace it.

However, when a player makes a stroke at the ball without replacing it, he plays under penalty of one stroke and distance (see Rule 27-a). This procedure overrides Rule 18-2a.

Ball Moved by Wind Replaced – DECISION 18-2a/7

Q. In Stroke play, a competitor’s ball was moved by the wind. Since wind is not an outside agency (see definition of ‘Outside Agency’), he should have played it from where it came to rest, but he replaced it.

What is the ruling.


A. The competitor incurred one penalty stroke under Rule 18-2a (lifting or moving the ball), and, before playing his next stroke, he should have replaced the ball on the spot where it came to rest after being moved by the wind. If he did not do so, he incurs a total penalty of two strokes – see Penalty for Breach of Rule 18-2.

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RULES & DECISIONS of Golf 2010-2011
Royal and Ancient of St. Andrews No.14.


LIFTING AND MARKING. - RULE 20-1


A ball to be lifted under the Rules may be lifted by the player, his partner or another person authorized by the player. In any such case, the player is responsible for any breach of the Rules.

The position of the ball must be marked before it is lifted under a Rule that requires it to be replaced. If it is not marked, the player incurs a penalty of one stroke and the ball must be replaced. If it is not replaced, the player incurs the general penalty for breach of this Rule but there is no additional  penalty under Rule 20-1.

If a ball or ball marker is accidentally moved in the process of lifting the ball under a Rule or marking its position, the ball or ball-marker must be replaced. There is no penalty provided the movement of the ball or ball-marker is directly attributable to the specific act of marking the position of or lifting the ball. Otherwise, the player incurs a penalty of one stroke under this Rule or Rule 18-2a.

Note: The position of a ball to be lifted should be marked by placing a ball-marker, small coin, or other similar object immediately behind the ball. If the ball-marker interferes with the play, stance or stroke of another player, it should be placed one or more clubhead-lenghts to one side.

Whether Player Himself Must Lift Ball.- Decision 20-1/0.5

Q. Rule 20-1 states: “A ball to be lifted under the Rules may be lifted by the player, his partner or another person authorized by the player.” On the other hand, other Rules, e.g. Rule 24-2b(i) and 25-1b(i) state that the player shall lift the ball. Does Rule 20-1 override other Rules which imply that the player himself must lift the ball.

A. Yes.

Ball Replacing Rule 23 -3. – A ball to be placed under the Rules must be placed by the player or his partner. If a ball is to be replaced, the player, his partner or the person who lifted or moved it must place it on the spot from which it was lifted or moved. Any uncorrected placement by any other person, a one stroke penalty applies Rule 20-6.

Ball Marker Lifted by Outside Agency. - Decision 20-1/9


Q. ‘A’ marked the position of his ball on the putting green while a following match or group was playing  through. After the following match or group had played through, ‘A’ could not find his ball-marker. It apparently had been lifted by one of the players playing through. What is the ruling?

A. Under Rule 20-3c(iii) (Spot not Determinable). ‘A’ must place his ball as near as possible to where it lay on the green but not in a hazard.

Ball-Marker Moved Accidentally by Player in Process of Marking Position of Ball. - Decision 20-1/6

Q. A player marked the position of his ball with a coin, lifted the ball and pressed down the coin with the sole of his putter. He walked to the edge of the green and then noticed that the coin had stuck to the sole of the putter. What is the ruling?

A. In this case, the movement of the ball-marker was directly attributable to the specific act of marking the position of the ball.
Accordingly, no penalty is incurred and the ball or ball-marker must be replaced. If the spot where the ball or ball-marker lay is not known, it must be placed as near as possible to where it lay but not nearer the hole.

Competitor’s Ball lifted without Authority by Fellow Competitor. - Decision 20-1/4

Q. In stroke play, a fellow-competitor lifts a competitor’s ball on the putting green without the authority of the competitor. Such action is contrary to Rule 20-1. What is the ruling?

A. There is no penalty and the ball must be replaced. Rule 18-4, if a fellow-competitor, his caddie or his equipment moves the player’s ball, touches it or causes it to move, there is no penalty. If the ball is moved it must be replaced.

Golf Quip: You can put a draw on the ball, you can put a fade on the ball, but no casual golfer can put a straight on the ball.

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DECISIONS on the Rules of Golf 2010-2011
Royal & Ancient of St. Andrews. N0. 6a.

Further clarification of relief of Abnormal Ground Condition (Casual Water) within a BUNKER

Explanation of “Maximum Available Relief” from Casual Water in a Bunker – DECISION 25-1b/5

Q. In a bunker completely covered by casual water, is the place providing “maximum available relief” the spot which will provide the most relief for both lie and stance or just lie?

A. The term applies to both lie and stance. The spot providing “maximum available relief” might be such that the ball will be in shallow water than the player’s feet after he takes his stance, or vice versa.

Ball dropped from Casual Water in Bunker at Point of Maximum Relief Rolls Elsewhere

– DECISION 25-1b/6

Q. A player whose ball lies in a bunker completely covered by casual water drops his ball under Rule 25-1b(ii) at a spot where there is ¼ inch of casual water. This spot is the nearest spot providing maximum relief. The ball rolls into a spot where there is about ½ inch of casual water. What is the ruling.

A. In equity (Rule 1-4), and under the principle of Rule 20-2c(v), the player may re-drop and, if the ball rolls again, place the ball where it first struck a part of the course when re-dropped.

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