- Treading on, or kicking their ball while searching for it in most situations – but see the first exception below.
- Striking their ball as they make a practice stroke.
- Dropping a glove, towel, club or other equipment on their ball.
The same is true when a player picks up their ball when they are not entitled to under the Rules. For example;
- When their ball is on the apron and not on the putting green.
- When identifying their ball without following the correct procedure (click here for my blog on this subject).
- When they think that a hole has been won in match play and it has not.
- When they forget that it is a strokes competition in which they must hole out (or be disqualified).
- When they mistakenly think that it is not the ball that they have been playing with on that hole.
- When they think that they are entitled to relief and they are not.
- When the wind or gravity has moved their ball and they wrongly assume that it must be replaced.
However, it is important to remember that there are seven exceptions listed in Rule 18-2a, where no penalty is incurred when a player causes their ball in play to be moved. They are;
- In searching for a ball in a hazard covered by loose impediments or sand, for a ball in an obstruction or abnormal ground condition or for a ball believed to be in water in a water hazard - Rule 12-1. (This Rules was changed in January 2012 and the penalty is now the same as for causing a ball to move through the green.)
- In repairing a hole plug or ball mark - Rule 16-1c
- In measuring - Rule 18-6
- In lifting a ball under a Rule - Rule 20-1
- In placing or replacing a ball under a Rule - Rule 20-3a
- In removing a loose impediment on the putting green - Rule 23-1
- In removing movable obstructions - Rule 24-1.
Remember, that the provisions and exceptions to Rule 18-2a also apply when the player’s caddie, or partner in a four-ball or foursomes, causes the player’s ball to move.
I will cover the rulings that apply when somebody else moves your ball in play in a separate blog.
Until then, good golfing,
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