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     Ball Oscillates During Address

Q.In addressing the ball, a player accidentally causes the ball to oscillate, but it returns to its original position. Has the ball "moved"?

A.No.

In a recent tournament, my ball was on the collar.  It was close enough that the longer grass beyond the collar somewhat interfered with my intended stroke using my putter.  I stupidly decided to a. not blade a wedge and b. make a practice stroke over the top of the ball.  In making the practice stroke I slightly touched the ball.  It visibly rocked but remained where it sat originally.

I explained to my fellow competitors that I had not been attempting to hit the ball so there had been no "stroke".  Further, as the ball had not moved from its original position, my thought was the "oscillation" Decision applied.  They agreed.  We played on.

Did we get it right?

 

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I did the exact same thing once. I counted the stroke because, even though ball did not move, ( kind of wiggled a little)  I did "slightly" touch it with my club.  

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33 minutes ago, Patch said:

I did the exact same thing once. I counted the stroke because, even though ball did not move, ( kind of wiggled a little)  I did "slightly" touch it with my club.  

You are allowed to touch the ball with the club as long as it doesn't move to a new position (even 1/32" is a new position under the rules).

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Thanks for the responses.  That will be the last time I take a practice stroke over the top of the ball!

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4 hours ago, Fourputt said:

You are allowed to touch the ball with the club as long as it doesn't move to a new position (even 1/32" is a new position under the rules).

And I honestly can't envision a practice swing that actually contacts the ball, not resulting in some actual movement.  I don't think you could reproduce such a thing on purpose.

I would have assumed the ball had moved, and applied the penalty.

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13 minutes ago, David in FL said:

And I honestly can't envision a practice swing that actually contacts the ball, not resulting in some actual movement.  I don't think you could reproduce such a thing on purpose.

I would have assumed the ball had moved, and applied the penalty.

Usually a true oscillation only happens on the green.  Grass blades are too bendy to allow the ball to return to its exact previous position in anything cut longer than the green.  I would always assume that I had caused it to move.

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1 hour ago, David in FL said:

And I honestly can't envision a practice swing that actually contacts the ball, not resulting in some actual movement.  I don't think you could reproduce such a thing on purpose.

I would have assumed the ball had moved, and applied the penalty.

My son just taught me a trick shot where you hit your 60 degree wedge under the ball and the ball does oscillates up and down back to it's original position as much as is visibly obvious. It works on the range mats, haven't tried it on the course.

In answer to the op, yes you guys did the right thing. :-)

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On 6/15/2016 at 2:00 PM, David in FL said:

And I honestly can't envision a practice swing that actually contacts the ball, not resulting in some actual movement.  I don't think you could reproduce such a thing on purpose.

I would have assumed the ball had moved, and applied the penalty.

 

On 6/15/2016 at 2:15 PM, Fourputt said:

Usually a true oscillation only happens on the green.  Grass blades are too bendy to allow the ball to return to its exact previous position in anything cut longer than the green.  I would always assume that I had caused it to move.

This is incorrect. I've had many occasions when the ball would "oscillate" toward my clubhead when I attempted to ground my clubhead behind the ball in heavy rough off the green. When I lifted my clubhead, the ball would return to its original position. This is because the ball is being supported by long, heavy grass which bends when you set your clubhead down into it, thus causing the ball to oscillate.

As for taking a practice stroke "above" the ball, I don't know what that is supposed to accomplish. In a similar situation I see pros move well away from the ball and take practice swings through the rough in order to gauge it's thickness and resistance to the stroke!

Anyway, I think the OP and his group is right, since he made no attempt to "fairly strike at and move the ball". At least that's the way the rules used to read. That also rules out penalty strokes for waggles and practice swings.

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Just now, Buckeyebowman said:

 

This is incorrect. I've had many occasions when the ball would "oscillate" toward my clubhead when I attempted to ground my clubhead behind the ball in heavy rough off the green. When I lifted my clubhead, the ball would return to its original position. This is because the ball is being supported by long, heavy grass which bends when you set your clubhead down into it, thus causing the ball to oscillate.

 

I would be willing to bet that the ball moved, and you simply couldn't tell because you had no proper view of it.  When my ball is in the rough, I don't even touch the grass near it at address, because if it moves at all, even if it appears to return to it's original position, I'll call the penalty on myself.  You don't get the benefit of the doubt in this situation.  As with many such situations in golf, any doubt should be resolved against the player.

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On 6/18/2016 at 0:04 AM, Buckeyebowman said:

 

This is incorrect. I've had many occasions when the ball would "oscillate" toward my clubhead when I attempted to ground my clubhead behind the ball in heavy rough off the green. When I lifted my clubhead, the ball would return to its original position. This is because the ball is being supported by long, heavy grass which bends when you set your clubhead down into it, thus causing the ball to oscillate.

As for taking a practice stroke "above" the ball, I don't know what that is supposed to accomplish. In a similar situation I see pros move well away from the ball and take practice swings through the rough in order to gauge it's thickness and resistance to the stroke!

Anyway, I think the OP and his group is right, since he made no attempt to "fairly strike at and move the ball". At least that's the way the rules used to read. That also rules out penalty strokes for waggles and practice swings.

This has been a nagging question of mine for a long time. 

Whenever in somewhat deep rough the ball moves a bit when I ground the club behind the ball. It's almost impossible to ground the club anywhere near the ball without a little movement. This is one of those things that I've never discussed with others but what is the ruling on such a thing? I see the pros ground their clubs in US Open rough, does their ball oscillate a little when they do so? I find it hard to imagine that it doesn't. 

Is this one of those things that happens to everyone but no one mentions it? Or am I just grounding my club too close to the ball in the rough?

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Just now, Braivo said:

I see the pros ground their clubs in US Open rough, does their ball oscillate a little when they do so? I find it hard to imagine that it doesn't. 

It's hard to tell where they ground their club based on TV. Maybe they are grounding it a few inches behind the ball. Maybe they are still hovering it a bit so as to not have the ball move. 

 

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41 minutes ago, Braivo said:

This has been a nagging question of mine for a long time. 

Whenever in somewhat deep rough the ball moves a bit when I ground the club behind the ball. It's almost impossible to ground the club anywhere near the ball without a little movement. This is one of those things that I've never discussed with others but what is the ruling on such a thing? I see the pros ground their clubs in US Open rough, does their ball oscillate a little when they do so? I find it hard to imagine that it doesn't. 

Is this one of those things that happens to everyone but no one mentions it? Or am I just grounding my club too close to the ball in the rough?

I don't ground my club in tangled rough.  If the ball is sitting up in the rough I never ground the club - it takes so little to make it settle, and that's a one stroke penalty. I usually treat it the same as I would in a bunker and hover the club as close behind the ball as possible.  This is a situation where you have to just read the lie and use good judgement.  I've had lies in the rough where I had to set up with the clubhead 6 inches back along the planned swing path, behind and above the ball.

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7 hours ago, Fourputt said:

I don't ground my club in tangled rough.  If the ball is sitting up in the rough I never ground the club - it takes so little to make it settle, and that's a one stroke penalty. I usually treat it the same as I would in a bunker and hover the club as close behind the ball as possible.  This is a situation where you have to just read the lie and use good judgement.  I've had lies in the rough where I had to set up with the clubhead 6 inches back along the planned swing path, behind and above the ball.

Exactly! You're the one "on site". You are the one up close and personal who can observe the rough, and it's condition, better than anyone else can! You need to do so, and act accordingly. Now, Fourputt is out West. The grass is different out there. I'm here in the Mideast, I guess you could call it. We have a lot of Bluegrass and Fescue rough. Some of that stuff can hold a ball up in the air all day long!

Different strokes for different folks!

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I have a ruling question. I was in a round and my ball was in somewhat thick grass. I addressed the ball but wasn't looking the whole time. When I looked, I think I saw the ball just barely move. I'm not sure if I caused the ball to move or if it just oscillated. What do you do in this situation.

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14 minutes ago, GeorgeHiggins said:

I have a ruling question. I was in a round and my ball was in somewhat thick grass. I addressed the ball but wasn't looking the whole time. When I looked, I think I saw the ball just barely move. I'm not sure if I caused the ball to move or if it just oscillated. What do you do in this situation.

You said it moved. If you caused it, you’re penalized.

“Moved” has a definition in the Rules of Golf.

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If I am reading this correctly; one can save strokes, and avoid ethical quandaries, by not paying attention to the ball.

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8 hours ago, Piz said:

If I am reading this correctly; one can save strokes, and avoid ethical quandaries, by not paying attention to the ball.

You have an obligation the be honest.

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