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14
Procedures for Ball: Marking, Lifting and Cleaning; Replacing on Spot; Dropping in Relief Area; Playing from Wrong Place
Purpose: Rule 14 covers when and how you may mark the spot of your ball at rest and lift and clean your ball and how to put it back into play so that your ball is played from the right place.
  • When your ball has been lifted or moved and is to be replaced, the same ball must be set down on its original spot.
  • When taking free relief or penalty relief, you must drop a substituted ball or the original ball in a particular relief area.
You may correct a mistake in using these procedures without penalty before your ball is played, but you get a penalty if you play the ball from the wrong place.
14
Procedures for Ball: Marking, Lifting and Cleaning; Replacing on Spot; Dropping in Relief Area; Playing from Wrong Place
14.1

Marking, Lifting and Cleaning Ball

a

Spot of Ball to Be Lifted and Replaced Must Be Marked

Before lifting your ball under a Rule requiring it to be replaced on its original spot, you must mark the spot, which means to:
  • Place a ball-marker right behind or right next to your ball, or
  • Hold a club on the ground right behind or right next to your ball.
If you lift your ball without marking its spot, mark its spot in a wrong way or make a stroke with a ball-marker left in place, you get one penalty stroke. When you lift your ball to take relief under a Rule, you are not required to mark the spot.
b

Who May Lift Ball

Your ball may be lifted under the Rules only by you or anyone you authorize, but you must give such authorization each time before your ball is lifted rather than giving it generally for the round. Exception - Your Caddie May Lift Your Ball on Putting Green Without Authorization.
c

Cleaning Lifted Ball

When you lift your ball from the putting green it may always be cleaned. When you lift your ball from anywhere else it may always be cleaned except when you lift it:
  • To see if it is cut or cracked - cleaning is not allowed.
  • To identify it - cleaning is allowed only as needed to identify it.
  • Because it interferes with play - cleaning is not allowed.
  • To see if it lies in condition where relief is allowed - cleaning is not allowed, unless you then take relief under a Rule.
If you clean a lifted ball when not allowed, you get one penalty stroke.
14.2

Replacing Ball on Spot

a

Original Ball Must Be Used

When your ball must be replaced after it was lifted or moved, your original ball must be used. Exception - Another ball may be used when:
  • You cannot recover your original ball with reasonable effort and in a few seconds,
  • Your original ball is cut or cracked,
  • You are resuming play after a suspension, or
  • Your original ball was played by another player as a wrong ball.
b

Who Must Replace Ball and How It Must Be Replaced

Your ball must be replaced under the Rules only by you or any other person who lifted your ball or caused it to move. If you play a ball that was replaced in a wrong way or replaced by someone not allowed to do so, you get one penalty stroke.
c

Spot Where Ball Is Replaced

Your ball must be replaced on its original spot (which if not known must be estimated) except when the Rules require you to replace your ball on a different spot. If your ball was at rest on, under or against any immovable obstruction, integral object, boundary object or growing or attached natural object:
  • The "spot" of your ball includes its vertical location relative to the ground.
  • This means that your ball must be replaced on its original spot on, under or against such object.
d

Where to Replace Ball When Original Lie Altered

If the lie of your ball that has been lifted or moved is altered, you must replace the ball in this way:
  • Ball in Sand:
    • You must re-create the original lie as much as possible.
    • In re-creating the lie, you may leave a small part of the ball visible if the ball had been covered by sand. If you fail to re-create the lie in breach of this Rule, you have played from a wrong place.
  • Ball Anywhere Except in Sand: You must replace the ball by placing it on the nearest spot with a lie most similar to the original lie that is:
    • Within one club-length from its original spot (which if not known must be estimated)
    • Not nearer the hole, and
    • In the same area of the course as that spot.
If you know that the original lie was altered but do not know what the lie was, you must estimate the original lie and replace your ball. Exception - For Lies Altered While Play is Stopped and Ball Has Been Lifted, see Rule 5.7d.
e

What to Do If Replaced Ball Does Not Stay on Original Spot

If you try to replace your ball but it does not stay on its original spot, you must try a second time. If your ball again does not stay on that spot, you must replace the ball by placing it on the nearest spot where it will stay at rest, but with these limits depending on where the original spot is located:
  • The spot must not be nearer the hole.
  • Original spot in general area - the nearest spot must be in the general area.
  • Original spot in bunker or penalty area - the nearest spot must be either in the same bunker or in the same penalty area.
  • Original spot on putting green - the nearest spot must be either on the putting green or in the general area.
Penalty for Playing Incorrectly Substituted Ball or Playing Ball from a Wrong Place in Breach of Rule 14.2: General Penalty.  
14.3

Dropping Ball in Relief Area

a

Original Ball or Another Ball May Be Used

You may use any ball each time you drop or place a ball under this Rule.
b

Ball Must Be Dropped in Right Way

You must drop a ball in the right way, which means all three of these things:
  • You must drop the ball (neither your caddie nor anyone else may do so).
  • You must let go of your 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 your ball will come to rest, and
    • Does not touch any part of your body or equipment before it hits the ground. "Knee height" means the height of your knee when in a standing position.
  • The ball must be dropped in the relief area. You may stand either inside or outside the relief area when dropping your ball.
If your ball is dropped in a wrong way in breach of one or more of these three requirements, you must drop your ball again in the right way, and there is no limit to the number of times you must do so. A ball dropped in the wrong way does not count as one of the two drops required before your ball must be placed.
See Full Rules For information on making a stroke at a ball dropped in a wrong way and whether one penalty stroke or the general penalty applies.
c

Ball Dropped in Right Way Must Come to Rest in Relief Area

This Rule applies only when a ball is dropped in the right way under Rule 14.3b. When You Have Completed Taking Relief. You have only completed taking relief when your ball dropped in the right way comes to rest in the relief area. It does not matter whether your ball, after hitting the ground, touches any person, equipment or other outside influence before coming to rest:
  • If your ball comes to rest in the relief area, you have completed taking relief and must play the ball as it lies.
  • If your ball comes to rest outside the relief area, see below "What to Do if Ball Dropped in Right Way Comes to Rest Outside Relief Area".
In either case, there is no penalty to any player. Exception - When Ball Dropped in Right Way is Deliberately Deflected or Stopped by Any Person What to Do if Ball Dropped in Right Way Comes to Rest Outside Relief Area. You must drop a ball in the right way a second time, and if that ball also comes to rest outside the relief area, you must then complete taking relief by:
  • Placing a ball on the spot where the ball dropped the second time first touched the ground.
  • If the placed ball does not stay at rest on that spot, you must place a ball on that spot a second time.
  • If the ball placed a second time also does not stay on that spot, you must place a ball on the nearest spot where the ball will stay at rest, subject to the limits in Rule 14.2e.
d

What to Do if Ball Dropped in Right Way is Deliberately Deflected or Stopped by Person

See Full Rules For information on what to do if you have dropped your ball in the right way but it has been deliberately deflected or stopped. Penalty for Playing Ball from a Wrong Place or Playing Ball that was Placed Instead of Dropped in Breach of Rule 14.3: General Penalty.
14.4

When Your Ball is Back in Play after Your Original Ball Was Out of Play

See Full Rules For information on when your ball is back in play, including when you substitute a ball but this is not allowed or you use a procedure that does not apply.
14.5

Correcting Mistake Made in Substituting, Replacing, Dropping or Placing Your Ball

You may lift your ball without penalty and correct your mistake before playing your ball:
  • When you have substituted another ball for the original ball when not allowed, or
  • When you have replaced, dropped or placed your ball (1) in a wrong place or it came to rest in a wrong place, (2) in a wrong way or (3) by using a procedure that did not apply.
See Full Rules For more information on correcting a mistake before your ball is played.
14.6

Making Next Stroke from Where Previous Stroke Made

This Rule applies whenever you are required or allowed to make your next stroke from where a previous stroke was made (that is, when taking stroke-and-distance relief, or playing again after a stroke that is cancelled or otherwise does not count).
a

Previous Stroke Made from Teeing Area

Your original ball or another ball must be played from anywhere inside the teeing area (and may be teed).
b

Previous Stroke Made from General Area, Penalty Area or Bunker

Your original ball or another ball must be dropped in this relief area:
  • Reference Point: The spot where your previous stroke was made (which if not known must be estimated).
  • Size of Relief Area Measured from Reference Point: One club-length, but with these limits:
  • Limits on Location of Relief Area:
    • Must be in the same area of the course as your reference point, and
    • Must not be nearer the hole than your reference point.
c

Previous Stroke Made from Putting Green

Your original ball or another ball must be placed on the spot where your previous stroke was made (which if not known must be estimated). Penalty for Playing Ball from a Wrong Place in Breach of Rule 14.6: General Penalty.
14.7

Playing from Wrong Place

a

Place from Where Ball Must Be Played

After starting  a hole you must make each stroke from where your ball comes to rest, except when the Rules require or allow you to play a ball from another place. Penalty for Playing Ball from a Wrong Place in Breach of Rule 14.7a: General Penalty.
b

How to Complete a Hole after Playing from Wrong Place in Stroke Play

If you have played from a wrong place but it is not a serious breach, you get the general penalty under Rule 14.7a and must continue play of the hole with the ball played from the wrong place. If you have played from a wrong place and it is a serious breach, you must correct the mistake by playing out the hole from the right place. If you don't correct the mistake, you are disqualified. See Full Rules For an explanation of what to do when your playing from a wrong place is a serious breach, or if you are not sure if it is a serious breach.
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