"Hey, the wind moved my ball!"
Florida in March can be a windy time of the year. At times, March winds can have an effect on our game; such as causing our ball to move.
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.”
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”. The Rules makers have not quite figured out a good way to classify wind. There are Decisions that talk about air that is artificially propelled, other items such as a tumbleweed blown by wind moving a ball, and even a ball in a plastic bag moved by wind.
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 as long as you are sure it was not something else that caused the ball 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 or must proceed under Rule 27 (bad luck starts somewhere).
If your ball is on the green and you have placed a ball mark behind the ball but have not yet lifted it, you will still play the ball from its new position if it 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.