"Hey, your ball hit my ball!"
What happens when someone else’s ball strikes and moves your ball?
First, let’s start with the definition of “move or moved”. A ball is deemed to have “moved” if it leaves its position and comes to rest in any other place. That being said, if a ball simply oscillates, yet does not come to rest in a different spot, it has not moved.
Now, back to the original question.
Rule 18-5 tells us that “If a ball in play and at rest is moved by another ball in motion after a stroke, the moved ball must be replaced.”
Here are a few examples:
I finally hit a drive that lands in the middle of the fairway. You hit your tee shot and your ball strikes and moves my ball. I am required to replace my ball and you would play your ball as it lies with no penalty to anyone.
My ball is on the putting green and you play up from either the fringe or from a bunker. If your ball strikes mine there would be no penalty. I would need to replace my ball and you would play yours as it lies.
Both of our balls lie on the putting green and you putt resulting in your ball striking mine. I am required to replace my ball and you would play yours as it lies. In match play there is no penalty. In stroke play, you would incur a two-stroke penalty.
Here are a couple of things to remember to help avoid some of these situations.
- On the putting green you can mark and lift your ball.
- The Rules allow us to lift our ball or have any other ball lifted anywhere on the golf course if we think that ball may assist another player (Rule 22-1).
- Similarly, the Rules allow you to have any other ball lifted if you think it may interfere with your play (Rule 22-2).
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.