Playing the Ball (Rules 12, 13, 14 and 15)

If you think a ball is yours but can't see your identification mark, after notifying your marker or opponent, you may mark the position of the ball and lift it to identify it (Rule 12-2).

Improving Area of Intended Stance

Play the ball as it lies. Don’t improve your lie, the area of your intended stance or swing, or your line of play by: 
  • moving, bending or breaking anything fixed or growing, except in fairly taking your stance or making your swing, or
  • pressing anything down (Rule 13-2).

If your ball is in a bunker or a water hazard, don’t: 

  • touch the ground (or the water in a hazard) with your hand or club before your downswing, or
  • move loose impediments (Rule 13-4).
If you play a wrong ball:
  • in match play you lose the hole
  • in stroke play you incur a two-stroke penalty and must correct the mistake by playing the correct ball (Rule 15-3).