Accidentally knocking your ball close to the putting green

richbeech

Hacker
Joined
Mar 27, 2017
Messages
113
Visit site
Hi,

Just after a bit of advice on something that occurred in a recent team match.

My ball was lying just off the green ( 6 inches or so) and I had elected to putt it. I was stood beside my ball eyeing up the line and as I was doing so I noticed a small clump of grass cuttings just in front of my intended line. So I bent down to move it with my left hand while resting my right had on top of the putter, you know how you do sometimes, sort of using it as a support for your body weight.

As I went to push myself back up, the putter head slipped on the ground and moved my ball sideways about 12-18 inches or so, completely accidental of course. It was still about 6-8 inches off the putting green.

Not knowing the rule, I just thought that it counted as a shot and I then went to play it from where it was. Fortunately one of my opponents said, 'if you play that where it is now it's a two shot penalty.'

My playing partner, who didn't see the incident, disagreed with him and said it was the same as accidentally knocking your ball off the tee and no penalty. In the end it kind of came to nothing because my PP had a putt to halve the hole so I just picked my ball up, but we never did agree on what the correct ruling was and what I should have done.

Any advice?
 

pogle

Head Pro
Joined
Mar 13, 2012
Messages
277
Visit site
It's a one stroke penalty for moving your ball, even though it was an accident. The ball must be replaced; if you had played it from where it came to rest then it's a two stroke penalty in stroke play or loss of hole in match play. (If you're playing 4BBB match play, then only you are out of the hole. Your partner can continue).

A ball accidentally knocked off a tee is treated differently as the ball isn't in play in that situation. (Unless you've already had an air-shot!)

For completeness, there is now a local rule that is recommended by the R&A that says that a ball accidentally moved when it lies on the putting green is replaced without penalty. (This obviously wouldn't have applied in your situation). However, whether this local rule is adopted or not is up to each club so you would have to check. This local rule will become in force at all clubs from 1 Jan 2019 when the new rules come into effect.
 

Papas1982

Tour Winner
Banned
Joined
Jan 21, 2013
Messages
8,556
Location
Canterbury
Visit site
It's a one stroke penalty for moving your ball, even though it was an accident. The ball must be replaced; if you had played it from where it came to rest then it's a two stroke penalty in stroke play or loss of hole in match play. (If you're playing 4BBB match play, then only you are out of the hole. Your partner can continue).

A ball accidentally knocked off a tee is treated differently as the ball isn't in play in that situation. (Unless you've already had an air-shot!)

For completeness, there is now a local rule that is recommended by the R&A that says that a ball accidentally moved when it lies on the putting green is replaced without penalty. (This obviously wouldn't have applied in your situation). However, whether this local rule is adopted or not is up to each club so you would have to check. This local rule will become in force at all clubs from 1 Jan 2019 when the new rules come into effect.

He wasn't on the green though, surely it's just deemed as a stroke, much like an air shot or a suffer shot that barely travels?
 

Spuddy

Challenge Tour Pro
Joined
Oct 30, 2013
Messages
666
Visit site
He wasn't on the green though, surely it's just deemed as a stroke, much like an air shot or a suffer shot that barely travels?

No, it would only count as a stroke if you are intending to make a stroke (eg those examples you give).
 

richbeech

Hacker
Joined
Mar 27, 2017
Messages
113
Visit site
It's a one stroke penalty for moving your ball, even though it was an accident. The ball must be replaced; if you had played it from where it came to rest then it's a two stroke penalty in stroke play or loss of hole in match play. (If you're playing 4BBB match play, then only you are out of the hole. Your partner can continue).

A ball accidentally knocked off a tee is treated differently as the ball isn't in play in that situation. (Unless you've already had an air-shot!)

For completeness, there is now a local rule that is recommended by the R&A that says that a ball accidentally moved when it lies on the putting green is replaced without penalty. (This obviously wouldn't have applied in your situation). However, whether this local rule is adopted or not is up to each club so you would have to check. This local rule will become in force at all clubs from 1 Jan 2019 when the new rules come into effect.

Thanks for the explanation.
 

Sweep

Journeyman Pro
Joined
Jan 3, 2013
Messages
2,476
Visit site
So, if the OP had failed to replace his ball in stroke play and played from the incorrect place, would that then be 3 penalty shots (one for accidentally moving the ball, two for playing from the wrong place)?

In the case of a fresh air shot on the tee, if the player then accidentally knocks his ball off the tee, I assume the ball is put back on the tee and the player is playing their 3rd shot?
 

pogle

Head Pro
Joined
Mar 13, 2012
Messages
277
Visit site
So, if the OP had failed to replace his ball in stroke play and played from the incorrect place, would that then be 3 penalty shots (one for accidentally moving the ball, two for playing from the wrong place)?

In the case of a fresh air shot on the tee, if the player then accidentally knocks his ball off the tee, I assume the ball is put back on the tee and the player is playing their 3rd shot?

In the first example, no it's one penalty stroke plus an extra one for not replacing it. Two penalty strokes in total.

In your second example, yes, the player would be playing three with the ball back on the tee.

Edit to clarify the ball is put back on the tee
Second edit because I can't read my own writing!
 

Dasit

Tour Rookie
Joined
Jun 28, 2016
Messages
1,328
Visit site
If you knock a ball out of bounds off the tee

Then put next ball on tee and knock it off accidentally, is that a penalty stroke for putting it back on the tee?
 

duncan mackie

Money List Winner
Joined
Feb 19, 2012
Messages
11,136
Visit site
If you knock a ball out of bounds off the tee

Then put next ball on tee and knock it off accidentally, is that a penalty stroke for putting it back on the tee?

It's neither a penalty stroke for accidentally knocking it off the tee (because you haven't made a stroke at that ball to put it into play) nor a penalty stroke for putting it back on the tee.
 

Sweep

Journeyman Pro
Joined
Jan 3, 2013
Messages
2,476
Visit site
In the first example, no it's one penalty stroke plus an extra one for not replacing it. Two penalty strokes in total.

In your second example, yes, the player would be playing three with the ball back on the tee.

Edit to clarify the ball is put back on the tee
Second edit because I can't read my own writing!
Thank you
 

xreyuk

Assistant Pro
Joined
Jun 15, 2017
Messages
231
Location
Liverpool
Visit site
Hi,

Just after a bit of advice on something that occurred in a recent team match.

My ball was lying just off the green ( 6 inches or so) and I had elected to putt it. I was stood beside my ball eyeing up the line and as I was doing so I noticed a small clump of grass cuttings just in front of my intended line. So I bent down to move it with my left hand while resting my right had on top of the putter, you know how you do sometimes, sort of using it as a support for your body weight.

As I went to push myself back up, the putter head slipped on the ground and moved my ball sideways about 12-18 inches or so, completely accidental of course. It was still about 6-8 inches off the putting green.

Not knowing the rule, I just thought that it counted as a shot and I then went to play it from where it was. Fortunately one of my opponents said, 'if you play that where it is now it's a two shot penalty.'

My playing partner, who didn't see the incident, disagreed with him and said it was the same as accidentally knocking your ball off the tee and no penalty. In the end it kind of came to nothing because my PP had a putt to halve the hole so I just picked my ball up, but we never did agree on what the correct ruling was and what I should have done.

Any advice?

Correct me if I'm wrong somebody, but isn't it also illegal to move/repair anything on your putting line if you're off the green? Regardless as to whether the thing is on or off the green?
 

SwingsitlikeHogan

Major Champion
Joined
Jul 24, 2012
Messages
32,512
Visit site
Correct me if I'm wrong somebody, but isn't it also illegal to move/repair anything on your putting line if you're off the green? Regardless as to whether the thing is on or off the green?

Loose debris (sand, leaves etc) can be removed - pitch marks cannot be repaired - I think...
 

duncan mackie

Money List Winner
Joined
Feb 19, 2012
Messages
11,136
Visit site
Correct me if I'm wrong somebody, but isn't it also illegal to move/repair anything on your putting line if you're off the green? Regardless as to whether the thing is on or off the green?

Loose debris (sand, leaves etc) can be removed - pitch marks cannot be repaired - I think...

Think again....

Everything in this question depends on what and where the actual objects are - where the ball is is irrelevant (unusually within the rules).

Sand is not loose debris, and loose debris doesn't have a place in a rules discussion either!

The definition of a loose impediment is the key ruling element here, and that sand and loose soil are only loose impediments when they are on the putting green.

So you can move loose impediments anywhere outside a hazard, but you can only move sand and loose soil on the putting green (because they are only LIs then)

You may repair pitch marks (and old holes) on the putting green at any time.

You may not repair anything on your line of play that's off the putting green unless it was created after your ball came to rest.

Some of the above will be changing in the new rules from next year.
 

Colin L

Tour Winner
Joined
May 26, 2012
Messages
5,292
Location
Edinburgh
Visit site
Loose debris (sand, leaves etc) can be removed - pitch marks cannot be repaired - I think...

Think again after reading Rule 16-1 (c) ;)

The player may repair an old hole plug or damage to the putting green caused by the impact of a ball, whether or not the player's ball lies on the putting green.
 
Top