The Wind and my Ball: A Moving Story

You may have had an opportunity to watch the PGA Tour event in San Diego a couple of weeks ago. The wind was wreaking havoc with balls on the putting green being moved. At times, March winds can have an effect on our game; such as causing our ball to move so get ready.

What are the Rules that affect our actions and what do we do when it happens to us?

First of all, we start where we always begin; a definition. The definition of Move or Moved is: “A ball is deemed to have ‘moved’ if it leaves its position and comes to rest in any other place.” If a ball simply oscillates, it has not moved according to the Rules of Golf.

Generally, Rule 18 deals with a ball in play and at rest that is moved. However, there are some elements that cause a ball in play and at rest to move that are not covered under Rule 18; such as wind.

Wind is especially excluded from the definition of “outside agency”. Wind is more of an “inside agency” and is similar to gravity. It is very much a part of the game just as luck is as well.

But let’s get back to the good old fashioned ball sitting on a putting green that is moved by the wind. What do you do?

Here’s the answer. You play the ball from its new position without penalty or proceed under the Rules, as long as you are sure it was the wind that caused it to move. If the wind blows your ball into the hole, you are deemed to have holed out with your last stroke. If the wind blows it off the green and into a water hazard or out of bounds, you may proceed under Rule 26 (Water Hazard Rule) or must proceed under Rule 27 (Out of Bounds Rule - bad luck starts somewhere).

If your ball is on the green and you have placed a ball marker behind the ball but have not yet lifted it, you still play the ball from its new position if it thereafter moved by the wind.

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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