Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Rules of the Game: Ball at Rest Moved

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Rules of the Game: Ball at Rest Moved

Article excerpt

One in a series of articles on the "Rules of the Game" written by Kevin Purcell, general manager of golf courses for the Bergen County Department of Parks.

The ball placed upon the tee, the anxious look down the fairway, a new adventure at the ready. A deep breath, a slight pause before the coil, a mighty blow in the making ... and the ball falls off the tee.

The music stops, a silence follows until a voice from behind utters the most unique of comments, "One," leaving us to wonder why we play with that guy.

But it's not "one." The ball moved forward but there was no intent. Rule 11-3 covers this unintended bump.

"If a ball, when not in play, falls off a tee or is knocked off a tee by the player in addressing it, it may be re-teed without penalty."

During the course of the round there are ways our ball can move. Obviously we want it to move forward when we take a swing ... but that is not always the case. It costs us a stroke if we intend to move it and fail.

The definition of a "stroke" takes care of any confusion. "A stroke is the forward movement of the club made with the intention of striking at and moving the ball." If we somehow miss the target ... the ball ... it's a stroke anyway. So there can be a stroke without the movement of the ball, but what if the ball moves without a stroke?

By definition, a ball is deemed to have moved if it leaves its position and comes to rest in any other place. Rule 18, Ball at Rest Moved, covers a variety of situations where the ball leaves its position other than by a stroke.

An Outside Agency is any agency other than either of the player's sides in match play or the competitor's side in stroke play, the caddies of those players, the balls they are playing on the hole being played or the equipment of the side. A ball moved by an outside agency, such as a dog or a spectator, must be replaced without penalty. …

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