The R&A - Working for Golf
Rule

11

Player's Edition
See Rules Of Golf
Ball in Motion Accidentally Hits Person, Animal or Object; Deliberate Actions to Affect Ball in Motion
Player's Edition
See Rules Of Golf
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11.1
a
b
11.2
11.3
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Rule 10
Rule 12

Purpose: Rule 11 covers what to do if your ball in motion hits a person, animal, equipment or anything else on the course. When this happens accidentally, there is no penalty and you normally must accept the result, whether favourable or not, and play the ball from where it comes to rest. Rule 11 also restricts you from deliberately taking actions to affect where any ball in motion might come to rest.

11
Ball in Motion Accidentally Hits Person, Animal or Object; Deliberate Actions to Affect Ball in Motion

This Rule applies any time your ball in play is in motion (whether after a stroke or otherwise), except when your ball has been dropped in a relief area and has not yet come to rest. That situation is covered by Rule 14.3.

11.1
Your Ball in Motion Accidentally Hits Person or Outside Influence
a
No Penalty to Any Player

If your ball in motion accidentally hits any person or outside influence, including you, any other player or any of your caddies or equipment, there is no penalty to any player.

Exception - Ball Played on Putting Green in Stroke Play: If your ball in motion hits another ball at rest on the putting green and both balls were on the putting green before your stroke, you get the general penalty (two penalty strokes).

b
Ball Must Be Played as It Lies

If your ball in motion accidentally hits any person or outside influence, your ball must be played as it lies, except in two situations.

Exception 1 - When Your Ball Played from Anywhere Except Putting Green Comes to Rest on Any Person, Animal or Moving Outside Influence.

Exception 2 - When Your Ball Played from Putting Green Accidentally Hits Any Person, Animal or Movable Obstruction (Including Another Ball in Motion) on Putting Green.

See Full Rules For more information on these two Exceptions.

Penalty for Playing Incorrectly Substituted Ball or Playing Ball from a Wrong Place in Breach of Rule 11.1: General Penalty.

11.2
Ball in Motion Deliberately Deflected or Stopped by Person

If a ball in motion has been deliberately deflected or stopped by a player or if it hits equipment that has been deliberately positioned, there is normally a penalty and the ball must not be played as it lies.

See Full Rules For information on where to play a ball that has been deliberately deflected or stopped and whether any penalty applies.

11.3
Deliberately Moving Objects or Altering Conditions to Affect Ball in Motion

While a ball is in motion, you must not deliberately alter physical conditions or lift or move a loose impediment or movable obstruction to affect where the ball might come to rest.

Exception - You may move a removed flagstick, a ball at rest on the putting green or any other player's equipment (other than a ball at rest anywhere except the putting green or a ball-marker anywhere on the course).

Penalty for Breach of Rule 11.3: General Penalty.

In Play

The status of your ball when it lies on the course and is being used in the play of a hole.

Your ball first becomes in play on a hole:

  • When you make a stroke at it from inside the teeing area, or
  • In match play, when you make a stroke at it from outside the teeing area and your opponent does not cancel the stroke under Rule 6.1b.

That ball remains in play until it is holed, except that it is no longer in play:

  • When it is lifted from the course,
  • When it is lost (even if it is at rest on the course) or comes to rest out of bounds, or
  • When another ball has been substituted for it, even if not allowed by a Rule.

A ball that is not in play is a wrong ball.

When a ball-marker is in place to mark the spot of your ball in play:

  • If your ball has not been lifted, it is still in play, and
  • If your ball has been lifted and replaced, it is in play even if the ball-marker has not been removed.
Stroke

The forward movement of your club made to strike the ball.

Drop

To hold the ball and let go of it so that it falls through the air, with the intent for the ball to be in play. Each relief Rule identifies a specific relief area where your ball must be dropped and come to rest.

In taking relief, you must let go of the ball from a location at knee height so that the ball:

  • Falls straight down, without you throwing, spinning or rolling it or using any other motion that might affect where the ball will come to rest, and
  • Does not touch any part of your body or equipment before it hits the ground (see Rule 14.3b).
Relief Area

The area where you must drop a ball when taking relief under a Rule. Each relief Rule requires you to use a specific relief area whose size and location are based on these three factors:

  • Reference Point: The point from which the size of relief area is measured.
  • Size of Relief Area Measured from Reference Point: The relief area is either one or two club-lengths from the reference point, but with certain limits:
  • Limits on Location of Relief Area: The location of the relief area may be limited in one or more ways so that, for example:
    • It is only in certain defined areas of the course, such as only in the general area, or not in a bunker or a penalty area,
    • It is not nearer the hole than your reference point or must be outside a penalty area or a bunker from which you are taking relief, or
    • It is where there is no interference (as defined in the particular Rule) from the condition from which you are taking relief.
Outside Influence

Any of these people or things that can affect what happens to your ball or equipment or to the course:

  • Any person (including another player), except you or your caddie or your partner or opponent or any of their caddies,
  • Any animal, and
  • Any natural or artificial object or anything else (including another ball in motion), except for natural forces.
Caddie

Someone who helps you during a round to carry, transport or handle your clubs and/or give you advice. A caddie may also help you in other ways allowed by the Rules (see Rule 10.3b).

Equipment

Anything used, worn, held or carried by you or your caddie. Objects used for the care of the course, such as rakes, are equipment only while they are being held or carried by you or your caddie.

Putting Green

The area on the hole you are playing that is specially prepared for putting, or the Committee has defined as the putting green (such as when a temporary green is used).

Putting Green

The area on the hole you are playing that is specially prepared for putting, or the Committee has defined as the putting green (such as when a temporary green is used).

Stroke

The forward movement of your club made to strike the ball.

General Penalty

Loss of hole in match play or two penalty strokes in stroke play.

Outside Influence

Any of these people or things that can affect what happens to your ball or equipment or to the course:

  • Any person (including another player), except you or your caddie or your partner or opponent or any of their caddies,
  • Any animal, and
  • Any natural or artificial object or anything else (including another ball in motion), except for natural forces.
Substitute

To change the ball you are using to play a hole by having another ball become your ball in play.

Wrong Place

Any place on the course other than where you are required or allowed to play your ball under the Rules.

General Penalty

Loss of hole in match play or two penalty strokes in stroke play.

Equipment

Anything used, worn, held or carried by you or your caddie. Objects used for the care of the course, such as rakes, are equipment only while they are being held or carried by you or your caddie.

Loose Impediment

Any unattached natural object such as:

  • Stones, loose grass, leaves, branches and sticks,
  • Dead animals and animal waste,
  • Worms, insects and similar animals that can be removed easily, and the mounds or webs they build (such as worm casts and ant hills), and
  • Clumps of compacted soil (including aeration plugs).

Such natural objects are not loose if they are:

  • Attached or growing,
  • Solidly embedded in the ground (that is, cannot be picked out easily), or
  • Sticking to the ball.

Special cases:

  • Sand and loose soil are not loose impediments.
  • Dew, frost and water are not loose impediments.
  • Snow and natural ice (other than frost) are either loose impediments or, when on the ground, temporary water, at your option.
  • Spider webs are loose impediments even though they are attached to another object.
Movable Obstruction

An obstruction that can be moved with reasonable effort and without damaging the obstruction or the course.

If part of an immovable obstruction or integral object (such as a gate or door or part of an attached cable) meets these two standards, that part is treated as a movable obstructionBut this does not apply if the movable part of an immovable obstruction or integral object is not meant to be moved (such as a loose stone that is part of a stone wall).

Flagstick

A movable pole provided by the Committee that is placed in the hole to show you where the hole is.

Putting Green

The area on the hole you are playing that is specially prepared for putting, or the Committee has defined as the putting green (such as when a temporary green is used).

Equipment

Anything used, worn, held or carried by you or your caddie. Objects used for the care of the course, such as rakes, are equipment only while they are being held or carried by you or your caddie.

Putting Green

The area on the hole you are playing that is specially prepared for putting, or the Committee has defined as the putting green (such as when a temporary green is used).

Ball-Marker

An artificial object when used to mark the spot of your ball to be lifted, such as a tee, a coin, an object made to be a ball-marker or another small piece of equipment.

Course

The entire area of play within the edge of any boundaries set by the Committee. The boundary edge extends both up above the ground and down below the ground.

General Penalty

Loss of hole in match play or two penalty strokes in stroke play.