Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Re-creating the Lie and Re-covering the Ball

Ball covered by loose impediments in a bunker
Rule 20-3b(iii) states that if the original lie of a ball to be placed or replaced in a bunker has been altered the original lie must be re-created as nearly as possible and the ball must be placed in that lie. This includes any irregularity that the ball lay in when it came to rest, not just a change that was caused afterwards.

There are two similar situations in Rule 12-1;
a)    If a player’s ball lying anywhere on the course is believed to be covered by sand they may, without penalty, touch or move the sand in order to find or identify it (Rule 12-1a).
b)    If a player’s ball is believed to lie in a hazard, but is covered by loose impediments to the extent that they cannot find or identify it they may, without penalty, touch or move loose impediments in order to find or identify it (Rule 12-b).

So, in the above situations how does the player continue if they find and identify their ball? 
a)    The player must re-create the lie as nearly as possible by replacing the sand. If the ball is moved during the touching or moving of sand while searching for or identifying the ball, there is no penalty; the ball must be replaced and the lie re-created.
b)    If the ball was entirely covered by loose impediments (e.g. leaves, as in the photo above), the player must re-cover the ball but is permitted to leave a small part of the ball visible.

One further situation where the lie of a ball must be re-created can be found in Decision 18-2a/21 in which a player plays a wrong ball from a bunker and changes the lie of their own ball lying nearby. The player incurs the general penalty for making a stroke at the wrong ball, but is not penalised for moving their own ball in this circumstance. They must replace the ball in play and re-create the lie.

Farewell Ivor Robson.
If you do not know who Ivor Robson is, the Golf Channel video clip link that follows will probably not be of interest you; but if you are a follower of the European Tour you will almost certainly want to click on this link, to hear some very famous professional golfers pay their humorous tribute to the legendary and highly popular starter with 41 years’ service to the game of golf.

Good golfing,


A reminder that I will be emailing updated files to everyone that purchased one after 1st April 2015, as soon as I have finished working through the amendments. 

The above content is strictly copyright to Barry Rhodes © 2015 and may not be copied without permission.


Don Dianetti said...

Hello Barry,

A very unusual incident today, the correct ruling for which is a mystery to me. I searched but could find nothing like it in the Decisions.

Similar to the photograph on this blog entry, I struck my ball into a hazard on top of many leaves. My ball was clearly identifiable sitting on top of the leaves, I had no need to move any of them or any other loose impediments.

I made my stroke at the ball and, much to my and my partner's surprise and amusement, TWO balls came blasting out of the hazard and on to the green. My own, and another that must have been concealed under the leaves very close to my ball. I had no idea it was there, and I have no idea which ball my club first contacted.

Ruling? After we picked ourselves up off the ground from laughing, I considered that I may have made a stroke at a wrong ball, but dismissed that...it did not seem equitable since I was not even aware the ball was there. In the end I decided that the extra ball should be considered simply a loose impediment that came out with the shot, no more significant than a twig or a leaf.

Again, it all happened too fast to have any certainty which ball was struck first.

We are quite curious to hear your analysis. This was a first for us in 30 years of golfing!

Cheers and thanks,
Don Dianetti
Rochester, NY
United States

Barry Rhodes said...


Decision 15/2 clarifies that there is no penalty in the circumstance that you describe. You made a stroke at your own ball, not the hidden ball, which was a movable obstruction (not a loose impediment). The stroke counts and the ball must be played as it lies.


Unknown said...

I am following up on the Ernie Els incident you published a link to. I had not seen this video before, although I did see the incident live.

I was amazed that no mention was made of the fact that after Els had been give the original ruling, that he would not get relief, he started moving the loose impediments and the ball moved. Peter Allis was commentating on the BBC, and said something like 'hey, that ball moved', and then they showed a replay of it moving. Els did not replace it. He was then given the new ruling that he would get relief from GUR and no further mention was made of the ball moving.

I could not at the time, and still cannot, find any reason why he was not penalised one stroke, and possibly two. It still bugs me all these years later.

Barry Rhodes said...


Interesting! I have to admit that I do not remember this part of the incident, probably because I was not so absorbed by the Rules of Golf back in 2004!