December 08, 2016

New Rule: No Penalty for DJ Situation

A new Local Rule may be used in beginning in 2017

Remember when Dustin Johnson was penalized at the US Open last summer when his ball moved on the 5th green? Dustin took a few practice strokes and was about to ground his putter behind the ball when his ball moved slightly. Most of the millions watching the telecast felt the movement of the ball occurred because of the fast, firm, sloped greens and not because of the gentle practice strokes made. However, at the time, guidance in the Rules of Golf clearly explains that Dustin should receive a penalty for causing his ball to move. Luckily the penalty didn't matter as Dustin went on to win the US Open by three strokes.

The USGA and R&A announced today that a Local Rule may be implemented beginning on January 1, 2017 that eliminates the penalty for when a ball is moved accidentally on the putting green. The USGA, R&A, Augusta National, FSGA, and most other golfing bodies plan to put this Local Rule into effect on January 1st. The FSGA is in the process on adding the local rule to our Hard Card for 2017. A "Hard Card" are Local Rules that are in effect for all FSGA events.

What You Need to Know

  • The Local Rule must be put in effect by the Committee (the organization running the event or the club pro for daily play). Club Pros should post a note at their club that the Local Rule is in effect
  • It starts on January 1st, so be careful for a few more weeks
  • The ball must be on the putting green
  • The movement of the ball must be accidental
  • The Local Rule applies to the player, partner, opponent, caddies and equipment
  • The ball must be replaced
  • A ball marker (coin, tee, etc.) is treated the same as a ball. If a ball marker is accidentally moved, no penalty and put it back.
  • If the ball was moved by wind, water, or gravity you must play the ball from its new location

Watch a great two minute video explaining the new Local Rule

Click here for a printable resource

Learn more on the Rules of Golf by attending a One-Day (8:30-3:30) Rules of Golf Workshop. Eleven workshops are being held around Florida beginning in January. See more HERE

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