No.22 Touching Ball in Play
 

 

 
Question 1:
A player is not sure if it is his ball that he has found in long grass as he cannot see his identification mark;
a) Does he have to announce, to an opponent or fellow competitor, his intention to touch his ball so as to identify it?
b) Does he have to mark the position of his ball before touching it?
c) May he clean the ball after he has lifted it?
d) Is there a penalty for touching the ball to identify it without marking it?
 
Answer 1:
a) Yes, he may only lift his ball in order to identify it if he has given his opponent, marker or fellow competitor an opportunity to observe the lifting and replacement.
b) Yes, the position of the ball must be marked before touching or lifting it.
c) The ball may only be cleaned to the extent necessary for identification.
d) Yes, the player incurs a one stroke penalty if he does not comply with all or any part of the procedure.
 
Note: A player may not touch a ball other than as provided for in the Rules (Rule 18-2a). Under Rules 12-2 and 20-1, a ball may only be lifted (or touched and rotated) for identification purposes if the player follows the correct procedure.
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Question 2:
May a player rotate their ball on the putting green, to line up the trademark with the hole, without marking its position first?

Answer 2: No.

Note: As above, there is a one stroke penalty for touching a ball other than as provided for in the Rules (Rule 18-2a). The ball must be marked before being touched, even on the putting green.
 
 
Another 'Rhodes Rules School' Q&A will follow next week,

 
Good golfing,
 
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