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Chipless

Another player's ball knocked mine into the hole

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I am a novice golfer with only three rounds under my belt.  Yet somehow I have already managed to get myself into a spot where guys I know who golf regularly cannot seem to agree on the correct ruling.

I hit a ball and it landed on the green.  It was probably ten feet away from the hole, but I couldn't tell for sure since I was still walking towards the green.  While I was walking someone else chipped onto the green.  Their ball collided with my ball and knocked mine into the hole.

What is the correct ruling and why?

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Originally Posted by Chipless

I hit a ball and it landed on the green.  It was probably ten feet away from the hole, but I couldn't tell for sure since I was still walking towards the green.  While I was walking someone else chipped onto the green.  Their ball collided with my ball and knocked mine into the hole.

What is the correct ruling and why?


First, welcome to the forum.

The correct ruling is that you replace your ball and the other is played from where it lies.

The USGA maintains the Rules of Golf online here: http://www.usga.org/Rule-Books/Rules-of-Golf/Rules-and-Decisions/ and the relevant rule is rule 18, "Ball at Rest Moved," http://www.usga.org/Rule-Books/Rules-of-Golf/Rule-18/ . Specifically 18-5 "By Another Ball."

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Erik is correct... Look at it this way, if they hit your ball off the green into a water hazard you would be pissed if you had to take a penalty because of it...

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Originally Posted by Chipless

I am a novice golfer with only three rounds under my belt.  Yet somehow I have already managed to get myself into a spot where guys I know who golf regularly cannot seem to agree on the correct ruling.

I hit a ball and it landed on the green.  It was probably ten feet away from the hole, but I couldn't tell for sure since I was still walking towards the green.  While I was walking someone else chipped onto the green.  Their ball collided with my ball and knocked mine into the hole.

What is the correct ruling and why?


Erik's answer is correct so I'll concentrate on your last sentence.

The idea in golf is that you are entitled to the lie and place your stroke gave you. So any change in that by any outside agency (see http://www.usga.org/Rule-Books/Rules-of-Golf/Definitions/ ) has to be nullified. In your case the other ball is an outside agency, thus you need to replace your ball.

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This makes sense, and is how we ended up playing it.  Fortunately, I was able to one-putt.

Ironically, this is an answer I will never forget, yet if I golf for twenty more years, I may never see this situation come up again...

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I could see some fights over that if you are at a good distance from the green when it happens.  My ball always looks a lot closer to the hole than it really is until I actually get up on the green.  Good thing it doesn't happen very often.

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We couldn't really agree on how far my ball was from the hole, since none of us had actually stepped onto the green yet.  Guesses ranged from five to fifteen feet, so we went with ten.

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my understanding is that if your ball is in the way, you should put a ball marker to avoid this happening.  However, i also understand that it is only the player who needs to decide this and not a requirement!

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Originally Posted by awj888

my understanding is that if your ball is in the way, you should put a ball marker to avoid this happening.  However, i also understand that it is only the player who needs to decide this and not a requirement!



It is not just the player himself/herself who decides, his/her fellow competitor may request the ball to be lifted if it is considered to be interfering. And if the ball is off the green, then this is the only case.

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Originally Posted by awj888

my understanding is that if your ball is in the way, you should put a ball marker to avoid this happening.  However, i also understand that it is only the player who needs to decide this and not a requirement!



Also, I recommend reading the original question when responding to threads. This happened on an approach shot - no one was on the green yet which is why the ball had not been marked.

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Originally Posted by sacm3bill

Also, I recommend reading the original question when responding to threads. This happened on an approach shot - no one was on the green yet which is why the ball had not been marked.



Ditto, lol

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Originally Posted by awj888

my understanding is that if your ball is in the way, you should put a ball marker to avoid this happening.  However, i also understand that it is only the player who needs to decide this and not a requirement!


I agree. It would always depend on the player.

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Originally Posted by dawnRwright

I agree. It would always depend on the player.



Only when his ball is on the green. Never off the green.

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If any player thinks a ball might assist any other player he may have the ball lifted or lift it himself if it is his ball. In stroke play the player whose ball it is may choose to play first.

If a player considers another ball may interfere with his play he may have it lifted.

Except on the putting green a player may not lift his ball unless he is asked to.

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Note to our new golfer friend:

And while we're at it, if the ball being marked is off the green, it may not be cleaned. Make sure you carefully lift it and replace it without even accidentally wiping it off with your hands or by placing it in your pocket.

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Originally Posted by rustyredcab

Note to our new golfer friend:

And while we're at it, if the ball being marked is off the green, it may not be cleaned. Make sure you carefully lift it and replace it without even accidentally wiping it off with your hands or by placing it in your pocket.



This brings up a simple question.  I am in Ohio and this time of year almost every ball will have big chunks of mud on it even in the fairway.  Most of the guys I play with tell me that "winter rules" allow for wiping the mud off, as long as the ball position and lie aren't improved.  Is this correct?

Also, it seems like everyone cleans their balls before putting.  Is this allowed?

And if so, could you take it a step farther and just place a newer/cleaner ball in the same spot?

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Originally Posted by Chipless

This brings up a simple question.  I am in Ohio and this time of year almost every ball will have big chunks of mud on it even in the fairway.  Most of the guys I play with tell me that "winter rules" allow for wiping the mud off, as long as the ball position and lie aren't improved.  Is this correct?

Also, it seems like everyone cleans their balls before putting.  Is this allowed?

And if so, could you take it a step farther and just place a newer/cleaner ball in the same spot?

There are provisions for lift, clean, and place in adverse conditions. In that case, yes, you may clean. Note that "winter rules" are very common, but are not "real" Rules in the with-a-capital-R sense.

You may always clean your ball after lifting on the putting green. You may never change balls during the play of a hole unless a rule specifically allows it (i.e., lost ball, damaged ball, provisional after an out-of-bounds stroke, and a few other cases).

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Originally Posted by zeg

. In that case, yes, you may clean. Note that "winter rules" are very common, but are not "real" Rules in the with-a-capital-R sense.

Preferred Lies/Winter Rules are Local Rules in Appendix I

Rule or Rules

The term “ Rule ’’ includes:

a. The Rules of Golf and their interpretations as contained in “Decisions on the Rules of Golf”;

b. Any Conditions of Competition established by the Committee under Rule 33-1 and Appendix I ;

c. Any Local Rules established by the Committee under Rule 33-8a and Appendix I ; and

d. The specifications on:

(i) clubs and the ball in Appendices II and III and their interpretations as contained in “A Guide to the Rules on Clubs and Balls”; and

(ii) devices and other equipment in Appendix IV .

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