WHAT’S THE RULING? / A twig stops golf ball from falling into the hole

You probably can’t get more unlucky than this on the golf course – a stick is stops the golf ball from falling into the hole.

A member at Mossman Golf Club in Port Douglas got the worst break we’ve seen in some time during a round on Sunday, and we’re still not entirely sure what the ruling is.

The golf ball is resting against a twig which is preventing it from falling into the hole. It’s not clear from the photo if the twig is resting against the flagstick here but our suspicion is that the ball cannot be considered in the hole and is deemed at rest. It will need to be marked and replace as near as possible to the edge of the hole.

The decisions as part of Rule 16-2 Ball Overhanging Hole go some way to helping out with this decision but we’d still love to hear from some accredited Golf rules officials on this one.

Decision 16-2/0.5
Under Rule 16-2, if a ball falls into the hole after it is deemed to be at rest, the player is deemed to have holed out with his last stroke and he shall add a penalty stroke to his score for the hole. In this case, when the player marked the position of the ball it must have been at rest. The ball must be considered to have been at rest when it was replaced; otherwise, it would have to be replaced again (Rule 20-3d).

Accordingly, the player is deemed to have holed out with his last stroke and must add a penalty stroke to his score for the hole.

Tip of the hat to Inside Golf FB page for pointing this one out to us.

7 thoughts on “WHAT’S THE RULING? / A twig stops golf ball from falling into the hole

  • February 21, 2018 at 17:57
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    I forwarded this to Barry Rhodes. He confirms your suspicions and procedure.

    “The ball is not holed, so the player should mark the ball and lift it, remove the loose impediment and then replace the ball. Obviously it will not come to rest where it was, so it has to be place at the nearest spot where it can be placed at rest that is not nearer the hole, Rule 20-3d. Rule 16-2 does not apply once the ball has been marked and lifted.

    Decision 16-2/0.5 is relevant;
    Q. After an approach shot, a player’s ball is overhanging the hole. The player walks up to the hole without unreasonable delay and notices that there is mud on the ball. The player marks the position of the ball and lifts it. He then cleans the ball and replaces it. The ball remains on the lip of the hole for about five seconds and then, as the player is preparing to tap it into the hole, the ball falls into the hole. What is the ruling?

    A. Under Rule 16-2, if a ball falls into the hole after it is deemed to be at rest, the player is deemed to have holed out with his last stroke and he shall add a penalty stroke to his score for the hole. In this case, when the player marked the position of the ball it must have been at rest. The ball must be considered to have been at rest when it was replaced; otherwise, it would have to be replaced again (Rule 20-3d).”
    Regards,

    Barry

    Barry Rhodes
    http://www.BarryRhodes.com – Miscellaneous content for anyone who wishes to improve their knowledge of the Rules of Golf
    http://www.RhodesRulesSchool.com – An indispensable resource for understanding the Rules of Golf
    Author of the two eBooks, ‘999 Questions on the Rules of Golf’ and ‘999 More Questions on the Rules of Golf’
    Twitter: @BarryRhodes999Q

    Reply
    • February 23, 2018 at 20:30
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      Wonderful thanks. Barry is a guru and completely trust his answer to this.

      Reply
  • February 22, 2018 at 00:51
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    Maybe something along these lines: …. a) ball not holed as not all of it below the lip of the hole b) you may move the loose impediment c) if the ball moves because of this removal you have to place the ball on the lip of the hole d) if it falls in the hole within 10 seconds it was holed with the last stroke e) if it falls in the hole after 10 seconds you must add a stroke to the score f) if it doesn’t fall in the hole by itself you have to hole out and the stroke counts. Rule 23-1, definition ball holed and rule 17-4. I’m glad I never had this ruling at any tournament, and would always ask for a second opinion 🙂

    Reply
  • February 23, 2018 at 18:46
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    There is no logic for a penalty in this case,a Rule must not punish a golfer,2nd ball must be placed from where it was lifted,and in this case if the ball is placed at same place it will fall in and it should be considered holed from the previous stroke.Nayyar from Pakistan Golf Fedration.

    Reply
  • February 26, 2018 at 00:29
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    You can measure the deep of the snow with this twig! Measure the deep of the snow with a twig?

    Reply
  • February 27, 2018 at 16:40
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    Barry Rhodes has been overruled by the R&A on this one. He has provided the following ruling from them.

    “It’s a very rare situation, but the R&A received a similar question 30 years ago. The answer given, which we would still apply, was as follows:

    On the putting green, if the player’s removal of a loose impediment causes the ball to move, the ball is replaced without penalty. As replacement of the ball would be impossible in this case, in equity (Rule 1-4), the ball is considered to be holed with the previous stroke.”

    Reply
    • March 28, 2018 at 10:06
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      Is this the real answer TonyN?
      I would have to disagree if it was?. What if there was a case where a ball was on the green on a slope a foot away from the hole wedged against a twig. The player marks the ball lifts it and moves the twig but when the ball is replaced it cannot hold that position and even on the 2nd try rolls into the hole. Is it considered holed in this case?
      John Stephens
      General Manager – Queenstown Golf Club NZ

      Reply

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