The Official Website of the Golf Coaches Association of America



October 2009
By Clyde Luther

Since school has started and golf teams have been involved in qualifying for team positions I have had numerous phone calls from coaches regarding situations that have taken place, and at least three of the calls have involved at ball at rest that has been moved and was in play.  

In the first instance a player had hit his ball into a water hazard and when entering the hazard to look for his ball he stepped on it and pressed it into the ground.  What now?  First, he must of course, incur a one stroke penalty for moving his ball at rest (vertical displacement of the ball is the same as moving a ball horizontally).  Now, the ball must be replaced on the spot from which it was moved in accordance with Rule 18-2a, but since the lie was altered we must now proceed to Rule 20-3b, which tells us that we must now place the ball in the nearest lie most similar to the original lie that is not more than one club-length from the original lie and must be placed in the hazard.  It is very important that this procedure be followed and the ball placed properly or the player would incur a two stroke penalty for playing from a wrong place rather than just one for moving the ball at rest.

In another situation a player was driving a cart and he moved his ball at rest.  In this case he incurs a one stroke penalty and the ball must be replaced on the spot from which it was moved. Then another question was asked ...What if he didn't know the spot from which it was moved. The player then must drop the ball in accordance with Rule 20-3d (Spot Not Determinable). This brought one more interesting question from the Coach.  What if the Coach had moved the ball while driving the cart?  In our NCAA Competitions we have never considered the Coach to be part of the Side (he is then an Outside Agency) so therefore when the Coach moved the ball there was no penalty on anyone and the ball must be replaced in accordance with Rule 18-1.

Remember...anytime a ball at rest is moved it must be replaced unless it has been moved by wind or water.

Remember Coaches, we are always available to answer your Rules Questions.

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