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Ball hidden by leaves in rough, moved by player.

Larry's ball landed in the rough adjacent to a tree line, which this time of year is covered with leaves. While searching through the leaves, he inadvertently moved his ball. Scott, a member of the foursome said, "That's a shame, moving the ball will cost you one stroke. Is this correct? What is the correct ruling?

A. No penalty. The accidental movement of a ball while searching for it in an area of heavy leaf fall results in no penalty.

B. One stroke penalty, the rules know no mercy. Ball was moved, one stroke penalty.

C. Two stoke penalty, the rules are even tougher than Scott thought. Ball was moved, two stroke penalty

Answer is.

B. One stroke penalty and the ball must be replaced. Unless a rule specifically permits a player to move his ball while in play, a ball in play moved by the player is penalized one stroke and the player must replace the ball in the position it was in before the movement. USGA Rule 18 is the applicable rule.

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Thank you very much :),

Bob Kennedy

Editor, Off The Fringe golf newsletter

November 15, 2009

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