What's the ruling when a ball moves before a shot from the rough?

>
Published 14/03/2011 07:20:00
 

Lloyd's ball is sitting up in tall rough. Preparing to play his shot, he touches the grass behind the ball with his club. The ball falls backward. Lloyd claims there is no penalty because touching the grass did not constitute grounding his club and he, therefore, had not addressed the ball when it moved.

Is there a penalty?

Lloyd is correct in asserting that he did not address the ball, but mistaken in believing that this absolves him from a penalty. He is penalized one stroke under Rule 18-2a for causing his ball to move, and he must replace the ball. If he fails to replace the ball, the penalty is two strokes in stroke play or loss of hole in match play.

The only difference in the ruling when a player did address the ball -- defined as taking his stance and grounding the club -- is that if the ball moves after address, the player is deemed to have moved it even if there is a possibility that wind or another agency moved it. This comes into play more often on the green, where wind is more likely to move a ball. In Lloyd's situation, it's clear that the club touching the grass caused the ball to move, so it doesn't matter whether he addressed it.

On the question of when a club is grounded, touching long grass is allowed but it's considered grounding if the grass is compressed to the point where it will support the weight of the club. This is something to keep in mind when the ball is in a grassy part of a hazard.

Now What If?

Lloyd's ball is sitting up in tall rough. Preparing to play his shot, he touches the grass behind the ball with his club. The ball settles downward in the grass and stays there.

Is he penalized for causing the ball to move?

Yes. The direction of movement is immaterial; a ball moving downward is considered to have moved. Lloyd is penalized one stroke and must replace the ball.




Comments


1.  This needs revising as the definition of address no longer includes stance and the rule re an addressed ball moving has changed.

comment by d - 08/01/2015 14:14

Add your comment