Print Section
11
Ball in Motion Accidentally Hits Person, Animal or Object; Deliberate Actions to Affect Ball in Motion
Purpose: Rule 11 covers what to do if the player’s ball in motion hits a person, animal, equipment or anything else on the course. When this happens accidentally, there is no penalty and the player normally must accept the result, whether favourable or not, and play the ball from where it comes to rest. Rule 11 also restricts a player 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 a ball in play is in motion (whether after a stroke or otherwise), except when a 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

Ball in Motion Accidentally Hits Person or Outside Influence

a

No Penalty to Any Player

If a player’s ball in motion accidentally hits any person or outside influence:
  • There is no penalty to any player.
  • This is true even if the ball hits the player, the opponent or any other player or any of their caddies or equipment.
Exception – Ball Played on Putting Green in Stroke Play: If the player’s ball in motion hits another ball at rest on the putting green and both balls were on the putting green before the stroke, the player gets the general penalty(two penalty strokes).
b

Ball Must Be Played as It Lies

If a player’s ball in motion accidentally hits any person or outside influence, the ball must be played as it lies, except in two situations: Exception 1 – When Ball Played from Anywhere Except Putting Green Comes to Rest on Any Person, Animal or Moving Outside Influence: The player must not play the ball as it lies. Instead, the player must take relief:
  • When Ball Is Anywhere Except on Putting Green. The player must drop the original ball or another ball in this relief area (see Rule 14.3):
    • Reference Point: The estimated point right under where the ball first came to rest on the person, animal or moving outside influence.
    • 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 the reference point, and
      • Must not be nearer the hole than the reference point.
  • When Ball Is on Putting Green. The player must place the original ball or another ball on the estimated spot right under where the ball first came to rest on the person, animal or moving outside influence, using the procedures for replacing a ball under Rules 14.2b(2) and 14.2e.
Exception 2 – When Ball Played from Putting Green Accidentally Hits Any Person, Animal or Movable Obstruction (Including Another Ball in Motion) on Putting Green: The stroke does not count and the original ball or another ball must be replaced on its original spot (which if not known must be estimated) (see Rule 14.2), except in these two cases:
  • Ball in Motion Hits Another Ball at Rest or Ball-Marker on Putting Green. The stroke counts and the ball must be played as it lies. (See Rule 11.1a for whether a penalty applies in stroke play).
  • Ball in Motion Accidentally Hits Flagstick or Person Attending Flagstick. This is covered by Rule 13.2b(2), not by this Rule.
[Model Local Rule available: Local Rule D-7 Limiting When Stroke Made From Putting Green Must Be Replayed Under Exception 2 to Rule 11.1b Clarifications available: How To Apply Exception 2 to Rule 11.1b Living Insects Are Animals] Penalty for Playing Incorrectly Substituted Ball or Playing Ball from a Wrong Place in Breach of Rule 11.1: General Penalty under Rule 6.3b or 14.7a. If multiple Rule breaches result from a single act or related acts, see Rule 1.3c(4).
11.2

Ball in Motion Deliberately Deflected or Stopped by Person

a

When Rule 11.2 Applies

This Rule applies only when it is known or virtually certain that a player’s ball in motion was deliberately deflected or stopped by a person, which is when:
  • A person deliberately touches the ball in motion, or
  • The ball in motion hits any equipment or other object (except a ball-marker or another ball at rest before the ball was played or otherwise went into motion) or any person (such as the player’s caddie) that a player deliberately positioned or left in a particular location so that the equipment, object or person might deflect or stop the ball in motion.
Exception – Ball Deliberately Deflected or Stopped in Match Play When No Reasonable Chance It Can Be Holed: An opponent's ball in motion that is deliberately deflected or stopped at a time when there is no reasonable chance it can be holed, and when done either as a concession or when the ball needed to be holed to tie the hole, is covered by Rule 3.2a(1) or 3.2b(1), not by this Rule. For a player’s right to have a ball or ball-marker lifted before a stroke is made if he or she reasonably believes the ball or ball-marker might help or interfere with play, see Rule 15.3.
b

When Penalty Applies to a Player

  • A player gets the general penalty if he or she deliberately deflects or stops any ball in motion.
  • This is true whether it is the player’s own ball or a ball played by an opponent or by another player in stroke play.
Exception – Ball Moving in Water: There is no penalty if a player lifts his or her ball moving in water in temporary water or in a penalty area when taking relief under Rule 16.1 or 17 (see Rule 10.1d Exception 3). See Rules 22.2 (in Foursomes, either partner may act for the side and action by the partner is treated as action of the player); 23.5 (in Four-Ball, either partner may act for the side and action by the partner concerning the player’s ball or equipment is treated as action of the player).
c

Place from Where Deliberately Deflected or Stopped Ball Must Be Played

If it is known or virtually certain that a player’s ball in motion was deliberately deflected or stopped by a person (whether or not the ball has been found), it must not be played as it lies. Instead, the player must take relief: (1) Stroke Made from Anywhere Except Putting Green. The player must take relief based on the estimated spot where the ball would have come to rest if not deflected or stopped:
  • When Ball Would Have Come to Rest Anywhere on Course Except on Putting Green. The player must drop the original ball or another ball in this relief area (see Rule 14.3):
    • Reference Point: The estimated spot where the ball would have come to rest.
    • 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 the reference point, and
      • Must not be nearer the hole than the reference point.
  • When Ball Would Have Come to Rest on Putting Green. The player must place the original ball or another ball on the estimated spot where the ball would have come to rest, using the procedures for replacing a ball under Rule 14.2b(2) and 14.2e.
  • When Ball Would Have Come to Rest Out of Bounds. The player must take stroke-and-distance relief under Rule 18.2.
(2) Stroke Made from Putting Green. The stroke does not count, and the original ball or another ball must be replaced on its original spot (which if not known must be estimated) (see Rule 14.2). Penalty for Playing Incorrectly Substituted Ball or Playing Ball from a Wrong Place in Breach of Rule 11.2: General Penalty under Rules 6.3b or 14.7a. If multiple Rule breaches result from a single act or related acts, see Rule 1.3c(4).
11.3

Deliberately Moving Objects or Altering Conditions to Affect Ball in Motion

When a ball is in motion, a player must not deliberately take any of these actions to affect where that ball (whether the player’s own ball or another player’s ball) might come to rest:
  • Alter physical conditions by taking any of the actions listed in Rule 8.1a (such as replacing a divot or pressing down a raised area of turf), or
  • Lift or move:
    • A loose impediment (see Rule 15.1a, Exception 2), or
    • A movable obstruction (see Rule 15.2a, Exception 2).
Exception – Moving Flagstick, Ball at Rest on Putting Green and Other Player Equipment: This Rule does not prohibit a player from lifting or moving:
  • A removed flagstick,
  • A ball at rest on the putting green, or
  • Any other player equipment (other than a ball at rest anywhere except the putting green or a ball-marker anywhere on the course).
Removing the flagstick from the hole (including by attending it) while a ball is in motion is covered by Rule 13.2, not by this Rule. Penalty for Breach of Rule 11.3: General Penalty. See Rules 22.2 (in Foursomes, either partner may act for the side and action by the partner is treated as action of the player);23.5 (in Four-Ball, either partner may act for the side and action by the partner concerning the player’s ball or equipment is treated as action of the player).
EXPLORE MORE
Rule 1The Game, Player Conduct and the Rules
Purpose: Rule 1 introduces these central principles of the game for the player: Play the course as you find it and play the ball as it lies. Play...
Read more