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14

Procedures for Ball: Marking, Lifting and Cleaning; Replacing on Spot; Dropping in Relief Area; Playing from Wrong Place

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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 the player may mark the spot of a ball at rest and lift and clean the ball and how to put a ball back into play so that the ball is played from the right place.
  • When a lifted or moved ball is to be replaced, the same ball must be set down on its original spot.
  • When taking free relief or penalty relief, a substituted ball or the original ball must be dropped in a particular relief area.
A mistake in using these procedures may be corrected without penalty before the ball is played, but the player gets a penalty if he or she plays 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

This Rule applies to the deliberate “lifting” of a player’s ball at rest, which includes picking up the ball by hand, rotating it or otherwise deliberately causing it to move from its spot.
a

Spot of Ball to Be Lifted and Replaced Must Be Marked

Before lifting a ball under a Rule requiring the ball to be replaced on its original spot, the player must mark the spot which means to:
  • Place a ball-marker right behind or right next to the ball, or
  • Hold a club on the ground right behind or right next to the ball.
If the spot is marked with a ball-marker, after replacing the ball the player must remove the ball-marker before making a stroke. If the player lifts the ball without marking its spot, marks its spot in a wrong way or makes a stroke with a ball-marker left in place, the player gets one penalty stroke. If multiple Rule breaches result from a single act or related acts, see Rule 1.3c(4). When a ball is lifted to take relief under a Rule, the player is not required to mark the spot before lifting the ball.
b

Who May Lift Ball

The player’s ball may be lifted under the Rules only by:
  • The player, or
  • Anyone the player authorizes, but such authorization must be given each time before the ball is lifted rather than given generally for the round.
Exception – Caddie May Lift Player’s Ball on Putting Green Without Authorization: When the player’s ball is on the putting green, his or her caddie may lift the ball without the player’s authorization. If the caddie lifts the ball without authorization when it is anywhere except on the putting green, the player gets one penalty stroke (see Rule 9.4).
c

Cleaning Lifted Ball

A ball lifted from the putting green may always be cleaned (see Rule 13.1b). A ball lifted from anywhere else may always be cleaned except when it is lifted:
  • To See If It Is Cut or Cracked. Cleaning is not allowed (see Rule 4.2c(1)).
  • To Identify It. Cleaning is allowed only as needed to identify it (see Rule 7.3).
  • Because It Interferes with Play. Cleaning is not allowed (see Rule 15.3b(2)).
  • To See If It Lies in Condition Where Relief Is Allowed. Cleaning is not allowed, unless the player then takes relief under a Rule (see Rule 16.4).
If the player cleans a lifted ball when not allowed, he or she gets one penalty stroke. If multiple Rule breaches result from a single act or related acts, see Rule 1.3c(4). 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).
14.2

Replacing Ball on Spot

This Rule applies whenever a ball is lifted or moved and a Rule requires it to be replaced on a spot.
a

Original Ball Must Be Used

The original ball must be used when replacing a ball. Exception – Another Ball May Be Used When:
  • The original ball cannot be recovered with reasonable effort and in a few seconds, so long as the player did not deliberately cause the ball to become unrecoverable, 
  • The original ball is cut or cracked (see Rule 4.2c),
  • Play resumes after it had been stopped (see Rule 5.7d), or
  • The original ball was played by another player as a wrong ball (see Rule 6.3c(2)).
b

Who Must Replace Ball and How It Must Be Replaced

(1) Who May Replace Ball. The player’s ball must be replaced under the Rules only by:
  • The player, or
  • Any person who lifted the ball or caused it to move (even if that person was not allowed to do so under the Rules).
If the player plays a ball that was replaced by someone not allowed to do so, the player gets one penalty stroke. (2) How Ball Must Be Replaced. The ball must be replaced by setting it down on the required spot and letting it go so that it stays on that spot. If the player plays a ball that was replaced in a wrong way but on the required spot, the player gets one penalty stroke.
c

Spot Where Ball Is Replaced

The ball must be replaced on its original spot (which if not known must be estimated), except when the ball must be replaced on a different spot under Rules 14.2d(2) and 14.2e. If the ball was at rest on, under or against any immovable obstruction, integral object, boundary object or growing or attached natural object:
  • The “spot” of the ball includes its vertical location relative to the ground.
  • This means that the ball must be replaced on its original spot on, under or against such object.
If any loose impediments were removed as a result of the ball being lifted or moved or before the ball was replaced, they do not need to be replaced. For restrictions on removing loose impediments before replacing a lifted or moved ball see Rule 15.1a, Exception 1.
d

Where to Replace Ball When Original Lie Altered

If the lie of a lifted or moved ball that must be replaced is altered, the player must replace the ball in this way: (1) Ball in Sand. When the ball was in sand, whether in a bunker or anywhere else on the course:
  • In replacing the ball on its original spot (which if not known must be estimated) (see Rule 14.2c), the player must re-create the original lie as much as possible.
  • In re-creating the lie, the player may leave a small part of the ball visible if the ball had been covered by sand.
If the player fails to re-create the lie in breach of this Rule, the player has played from the wrong place. (2) Ball Anywhere Except in Sand. When the ball was anywhere except in sand, the player 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) (see Rule 14.2c),
  • Not nearer the hole, and
  • In the same area of the course as that spot.
If the player knows that the original lie was altered but does not know what the lie was, the player must estimate the original lie and replace the ball under (1) or (2). 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 the player tries to replace a ball but it does not stay on its original spot, the player must try a second time. If the ball again does not stay on that spot, the player must replace the ball by placing it on the nearest spot where the ball 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 under Rule 6.3b or 14.7a. If multiple Rule breaches result from a single act or related acts, see Rule 1.3c(4). 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).
14.3

Dropping Ball in Relief Area

This Rule applies whenever a player must drop a ball in taking relief under a Rule, including when the player must complete taking relief by placing a ball under Rule 14.3c(2). If the player improves the relief area before or when dropping a ball, see Rule 8.1.
a

Original Ball or Another Ball May Be Used

The player may use the original ball or another ball. This means that the player may use any ball each time he or she drops or places a ball under this Rule.
b

Ball Must Be Dropped in Right Way

The player must drop a ball in the right way, which means all three of these things: (1) Player Must Drop Ball. The ball must be dropped only by the player. Neither the player’s caddie nor anyone else may do so. (2) Ball Must Be Dropped Straight Down from Knee Height Without Touching Player or Equipment. The player must let go of the ball from a location at knee height so that the ball:
  • Falls straight down, without the player 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 the player’s body or equipment before it hits the ground.
“Knee height” means the height of the player’s knee when in a standing position. [Clarification available:  Tee Is Player’s Equipment] (3) Ball Must Be Dropped in Relief Area. The ball must be dropped in the relief area. The player may stand either inside or outside the relief area when dropping the ball. If a ball is dropped in a wrong way in breach of one or more of these three requirements:
  • The player must drop a ball again in the right way, and there is no limit to the number of times the player must do so.
  • A ball dropped in the wrong way does not count as one of the two drops required before a ball must be placed under Rule 14.3c(2).
If the player does not drop again and instead makes a stroke at the ball from where it came to rest after being dropped in a wrong way:
  • If the ball was played from the relief area, the player gets one penalty stroke (but has not played from a wrong place under Rule 14.7a).
  • But if the ball was played from outside the relief area, or after it was placed when required to be dropped (no matter where it was played from), the player gets the general penalty.
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. (1) Player Has Completed Taking Relief When Ball Dropped in Right Way Comes to Rest in Relief Area. The ball must come to rest in the relief area. It does not matter whether the ball, after hitting the ground, touches any person, equipment or other outside influence before coming to rest:
  • If the ball comes to rest in the relief area, the player has completed taking relief and must play the ball as it lies.
  • If the ball comes to rest outside the relief area, the player must use the procedures in Rule 14.3c(2).
In either case, there is no penalty to any player if a ball dropped in the right way accidentally hits any person, equipment or other outside influence before coming to rest. Exception – When Ball Dropped in Right Way is Deliberately Deflected or Stopped by Any Person: For what to do when the dropped ball is deliberately deflected or stopped by any person before it comes to rest, see Rule 14.3d. (2) What to Do if Ball Dropped in Right Way Comes to Rest Outside Relief Area. If the ball comes to rest outside the relief area, the player must drop a ball in the right way a second time. If that ball also comes to rest outside the relief area, the player must then complete taking relief by placing a ball using the procedures for replacing a ball in Rules 14.2b(2) and 14.2e:
  • The player must place 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, the player must place a ball on that spot a second time.
  • If the ball placed a second time also does not stay on that spot, the player 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

For purposes of this Rule, a dropped ball is “deliberately deflected or stopped” when:
  • A person deliberately touches the ball in motion after it hits the ground, or
  • The ball in motion hits any equipment or other object 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.
When a ball dropped in the right way is deliberately deflected or stopped by any person (whether in the relief area or outside the relief area) before it comes to rest:
  • The player must drop a ball again, using the procedures in Rule 14.3b (which means that the ball that was deliberately deflected or stopped does not count as one of the two drops required before a ball must be placed under Rule 14.3c(2)).
  • If the ball was deliberately deflected or stopped by any player or his or her caddie, that player gets the general penalty.
[Clarification available: Penalty for Deliberately Deflecting or Stopping Dropped Ball Always Applies] Exception – When There Is No Reasonable Chance Ball Will Come to Rest in Relief Area: If a ball dropped in the right way is deliberately deflected or stopped (whether in the relief area or outside the relief area) when there is no reasonable chance it will come to rest in the relief area:
  • There is no penalty to any player, and
  • The dropped ball is treated as having come to rest outside the relief area and counts as one of the two drops required before a ball must be placed under Rule 14.3c(2).
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 under Rule 14.7a.  If multiple Rule breaches result from a single act or related acts, see Rule 1.3c(4). See Rule 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).
14.4

When Player’s Ball is Back in Play after Original Ball Was Out of Play

When a player’s ball in play is lifted from the course or is lost or out of bounds, the ball is no longer in play. The player has a ball in play again only when he or she:
  • Plays the original ball or another ball from the teeing area, or
  • Replaces, drops or places the original ball or another ball on the course with the intent for that ball to be in play.
If the player returns a ball to the course in any way with the intent for it to be in play, the ball is in play even if it was:
  • Substituted for the original ball when not allowed under the Rules, or
  • Replaced, dropped or placed (1) in a wrong place, (2) in a wrong way or (3) by using a procedure that did not apply.
A replaced ball is in play even if the ball-marker marking its spot has not been removed.
14.5

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

a

Player May Lift Ball to Correct Mistake Before Ball Is Played

When a player has substituted another ball for the original ball when not allowed under the Rules or the player’s ball in play was replaced, dropped or placed (1) in a wrong place or came to rest in a wrong place, (2) in a wrong way or (3) by using a procedure that did not apply:
  • The player may lift the ball without penalty and correct the mistake.
  • But this is allowed only before the ball is played.
b

When Player May Change to a Different Rule or Relief Option When Correcting Mistake in Taking Relief

When correcting a mistake in taking relief, whether the player must use the same Rule and relief option originally used or may change to a different Rule or relief option depends on the nature of the mistake: (1) When Ball Was Put in Play under Rule That Did Not Apply.
  • In correcting this mistake, the player may use any Rule that applies to his or her situation.
  • For example, if the player mistakenly took unplayable ball relief for his or her ball in a penalty area (which Rule 19.1 does not allow), the player must correct the mistake by either replacing the ball (if it had been lifted) under Rule 9.4, or taking penalty relief under Rule 17 and may use any relief option under that Rule that applies to his or her situation.
(2) When Ball Was Put in Play under Rule That Applied but Ball Was Dropped or Placed in Wrong Place.
  • In correcting this mistake, the player must go on to take relief under the same Rule but may use any relief option under that Rule that applies to his or her situation.
  • For example, if when taking relief for an unplayable ball, the player used the lateral relief option (Rule 19.2c) and mistakenly dropped the ball outside the required relief area, in correcting the mistake the player must go on to take relief under Rule 19.2 but may use any of the relief options in Rule 19.2a, b or c.
(3) When Ball Was Put in Play under Rule That Applied and Was Dropped or Placed in Right Place, but Rule Requires Ball to Be Dropped or Placed Again.
  • In correcting this mistake, the player must go on to take relief using the same Rule and the same relief option under that Rule.
  • For example, if when taking relief for an unplayable ball, the player used the lateral relief option (Rule 19.2c) and the ball was (1) dropped in the right relief area but (2) was dropped in a wrong way (see Rule 14.3b) or came to rest outside the relief area (see Rule 14.3c), in correcting the mistake the player must go on to take relief under Rule 19.2 and must use the same relief option (lateral relief under Rule 19.2c).
c

No Penalties for Ball Lifted to Correct Mistake

When a ball is lifted under Rule 14.5a to correct a mistake:
  • The player does not count any penalty for actions that were taken relating to that ball after the mistake and before it was lifted, such as for accidentally causing it to move (see Rule 9.4b).
  • But if those same actions were also in breach of a Rule relating to the ball that was put in play to correct the mistake (such as when those actions improved the conditions affecting the stroke for both the ball now in play and the original ball before it was lifted), the penalty applies to the ball now in play.
[Clarification available: Player Not Penalized When Improvement Has No Effect on Relief Area Ball Played From]
14.6

Making Next Stroke from Where Previous Stroke Made

This Rule applies whenever a player is required or allowed under the Rules to make the 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).
  • How the player must put a ball in play depends on the area of the course where that previous stroke was made.
  • In all of these situations, the player may use either the original ball or another ball.
a

Previous Stroke Made from Teeing Area

The original ball or another ball must be played from anywhere inside the teeing area (and may be teed) under Rule 6.2b.
b

Previous Stroke Made from General Area, Penalty Area or Bunker

The original ball or another ball must be dropped in this relief area (see Rule 14.3):
  • Reference Point: The spot where the 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 the reference point, and
    • Must not be nearer the hole than the reference point.
c

Previous Stroke Made from Putting Green

The original ball or another ball must be placed on the spot where the previous stroke was made (which if not known must be estimated) (see Rule 14.2), using the procedures for replacing a ball under Rules 14.2b(2) and 14.2e. Penalty for Playing a Ball from a  Wrong Place in Breach of Rule 14.6: General Penalty Under Rule 14.7a. If multiple Rule breaches result from a single act or related acts, see Rule 1.3c(4).
14.7

Playing from Wrong Place

a

Place from Where Ball Must Be Played

After starting a hole:
  • A player must make each stroke from where his or her ball comes to rest, except when the Rules require or allow the player to play a ball from another place (see Rule 9.1).
  • A player must not play his or her ball in play from a wrong place.
Penalty for Playing Ball from a Wrong Place in Breach of Rule 14.7a: General Penalty. If multiple Rule breaches result from a single act or related acts, see Rule 1.3c(4).
b

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

(1) Player Must Decide Whether to Play Out Hole with Ball Played from Wrong Place or to Correct the Mistake by Playing from Right Place. What a player does next depends on whether it was a serious breach – that is, whether the player could have gained a significant advantage by playing from a wrong place:
  • Not a Serious Breach. The player must play out the hole with the ball played from a wrong place, without correcting the mistake.
  • Serious Breach.
    • The player must correct the mistake by playing out the hole with a ball played from a right place under the Rules.
    • If the player does not correct the mistake before making a stroke to begin another hole or, for the final hole of the round, before returning his or her scorecard, the player is disqualified.
  • What to Do If Uncertain Whether Breach Is Serious. The player should play out the hole with both the ball played from a wrong place and a second ball played from a right place under the Rules.
(2) Player Who Tries to Correct Mistake Must Report to Committee. If the player tries to correct the mistake under (1) by playing a ball from a right place:
  • The player must report the facts to the Committee before returning the scorecard.
  • This applies whether the player played out the hole with only that ball or with two balls (and even if the player scores the same with both balls).
If the player does not report the facts to the Committee, he or she is disqualified. (3) When Player Tried to Correct Mistake, Committee Will Decide Player’s Score for Hole. The player’s score for the hole depends on whether the Committee decides that there was a serious breach in playing the original ball from a wrong place:
  • No Serious Breach.
    • The score with the ball played from a wrong place counts, and the player gets the general penalty under Rule 14.7a (which means that two penalty strokes are added to the score with that ball).
    • If a second ball was played, all strokes with that ball (including strokes made and any penalty strokes solely from playing that ball) do not count.
  • Serious Breach.
    • The score with the ball played to correct the mistake of playing from a wrong place counts, and the player gets the general penalty under Rule  14.7a (which means that two penalty strokes are added to the score with that ball).
    • The stroke made in playing the original ball from a wrong place and any more strokes with that ball (including strokes made and any penalty strokes solely from playing that ball) do not count.
    • If the ball played to correct the mistake was also played from a wrong place:
      • If the Committee decides that this was not a serious breach, the player gets the general penalty (two more penalty strokes) under Rule 14.7a, making a total of four penalty strokes that are added to the score with that ball (two for playing the original ball from a wrong place and two for playing the other ball from a wrong place).
      • If the Committee decides that this was a serious breach, the player is disqualified.
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