We recently had a reader of GolfMagic contact us about a ruling that caught them out while playing in a strokeplay competition round in Yorkshire.
The reader has chosen to remain anonymous, however, we feel this is an important issue to share as we want as many of our readers and fellow golfers to enjoy their golf without being caught out by an unknown rule.
The situation occurred when the player was over their ball, putting for par from around 12 feet away from the hole. As they took their practice swing, they accidentally nudged the ball a couple of inches away from its resting place.
The player's playing partners were sure that this counted as a shot and now the player would have to putt for a bogey. Despite the uncertainty of the rule, the player reluctantly accepted this and went on to putt for a bogey.
"Although I'm aware that you should always avoid hitting your ball with a practise swing, it just happened and I had no idea what to think or what to do in terms of my score," said the player, who wishes to remain anonymous.
"I have since learned that it doesn't count as a shot, but luckily we consulted our professional in the shop before I officially marked down my score and signed my card."
This is correct. If you accidentally hit your ball while making a practice swing on the green, this does not count as a shot. All you have to do is move the ball back to its original spot and then mark your ball with a ball marker.
See the official rule, 13.1d (1), below:
There are two specific rules for a ball or ball-marker that moves on the putting green.
(1) No Penalty for Accidentally Causing Ball to Move: There is no penalty if the player, opponent or another player in stroke play accidentally moves the player's ball or ball-marker on the putting green.
The player must:
- Replace the ball on its original spot (which if not known must be estimated) (see Rule 14.2), or
- Place a ball-marker to mark that original spot.
Exception – Ball Must Be Played as It Lies When Ball Begins to Move During Backswing or Stroke and Stroke Is Made (see Rule 9.1b)