"Can You Leave Your Ball Right Where It Is Please?"

What should you do when the ball belonging to another person you are playing with is in your way?

Simple. Ask them to mark and lift it, and possibly move the mark to the side one or more putter head lengths.

Let’s turn the tables around. What should you do if you want the ball left where it is? It may be advantageous to have it act as a backstop for you or as a possible aiming point.

Not so simple. Here is where Rule 22 (Ball Assisting or Interfering With Play) kicks in.

Specifically, Rule 22-1 states that if any person in the group thinks that a ball might assist you in your play, he may have the assisting ball lifted; no matter to whom it belongs.

Think of it this way. In the game of golf, you are out there on your own and only a caddie or a partner and his caddie can give you advice. You are the one that has to make the shots with no other help from anyone. This Rule is very similar to Rule 8 (Advice, Indicating Line of Play) and Rule 14-2 (Assistance) that prevents someone from letting you know where to putt during the stroke or assisting you while making a stroke.

The penalty for a breach of Rule 22 can be quite severe. If the Committee has determined that competitors have agreed not to lift a ball that might assist any other competitor, the penalty is disqualification in stroke play.

For example, players are playing as partners in a four-ball stroke play competition. Imagine Players A and B are partners playing with C and D who are partners. The ball belonging to player A is on the putting green beyond the hole but in a position to be used as an aiming point for his partner; Player B.

Player C says to Player A, “Please mark and lift your ball.”

Player A responds, “No thanks, I want to leave it there.”

His partner Player B then putts.

The ruling is that side A and B are disqualified from the competition.

Remember, use the index or the table of contents to find the correct Rule that applies to the situation and follow the Rules of Golf to help yourself to enjoy the game of golf.

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