RULE: The ball has moved again!

My Ball Moved again! We have discussed a few incidences on the course when your ball moves - whether by itself, or you or another agency was involved.

But what happens if the ball moves as you start your swing? Can you continue your swing and hit the moving ball, or the ball from its new position? What if you stop your swing and wait till the ball stops moving? Do you stop and leave it in the new position or do you replace the ball, or do you drop it? Do any of these actions incur a penalty?

A couple of ‘rules’ ago we discussed your ball moving after you address it, but in particular when it seems to move by itself, that you did not cause the ball to move (eg effect of wind, etc.).

Rule 18-2b Ball at Rest Moved says, “If a player’s ball in play moves after he has addressed it (other than as the result of a stroke) the player is deemed to have moved the ball and incurs a ONE STROKE penalty.”

Now there is a second part to this rule that gives you a bit of an ‘out.’ The rule goes on to make it permissible to hit the ball if “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 stroke is made.”

If you stop and do not complete your swing after the ball moves, you incur a ONE STROKE penalty and must replace the ball.

BUT if you continue with, and complete your stroke at the ball even though it has moved position, you incur NO PENALTY.

Even under Rule 14-5 Playing a Moving Ball, there is no penalty if the ball begins to move only after you have begun your stroke or the backward movement of your club for the stroke, and you hit the moving ball. Normally hitting a moving ball incurs a one stroke penalty. At last a favourable rule that make some sense!

Incidentally, if your ball does move after you have addressed the ball, and you stop your swing, curse the green keeper, the Golf Gods, or your opponent, or …. then address the ball again and hit it without replacing it, you will really curse!

Firstly, you get a ONE STROKE penalty for causing the ball to move. Then, hitting it from its new position is playing from the wrong place – another TWO STROKES penalty – three strokes penalty in all!

So HIT THE BALL, even if it does move!

PS:- “A ball is moved if it leaves its position and comes to rest in any other place.” (Definitions.)

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