Golf StoriesRule of the Moment – When Ball or Ball-Marker Moves on Putting Green

February 26, 2019by Brian Hurlburt0

By Tim Brand, Director of Rules and Competitions

It is the goal of the SNGA to help acclimate all our members to the many changes to the Rules of Golf. To help achieve this goal, we will be periodically including a new rule change and explanation in correspondences to our membership.

Rule 13.1d – When Ball or Ball-Marker Moves on Putting Green

If you accidentally cause your ball or ball-marker to move on the putting green, there is no penalty.  The player must replace the ball on its original spot or place a ball-marker down to mark that original spot.  Examples include when you accidentally:

  • Bump the ball with your club
  • Drop the ball on the ball-marker causing it to move
  • Move the ball while picking up your ball-marker
  • Kick the ball while repairing damage on putting green

When a ball is moved by natural forces such as wind and/or gravity, when do you replace the ball on its original spot and when do you play it from its new position?

  • If the ball is moved by natural forces before you have marked and lifted that ball, then you must play the ball from its new location.
  • If you have marked and lifted your ball, and then that ball is moved by natural forces, you will replace it on its original position. An easy way to remember this is to consider that once a ball has been marked and lifted on a putting green, it has a HOME. Once a ball is marked and lifted, it does not matter if the ball is moved accidentally or by natural forces. That ball will always be required to be replaced (Brought HOME) and played from its original position.

To take a deeper dive into this rule change, please refer to Rule 13.1d of the Rules of Golf. You may also refer to Pages 47-49 of the SNGA Rules Guide for more information.

We also highly recommend that you download the USGA Rules of Golf App for your smartphone. Once downloaded, the Rules of Golf will be right at your fingertips!


Brian Hurlburt

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