New Local Rule: Ball Moved on the Putting Green


The R&A has announced that from 1 January 2017 competition committees will be permitted to introduce a local rule that waives a penalty when a ball is accidentally moved on the putting green. HGC has adopted this recommendation and the new local rule in now in effect. 

“When a player’s ball is at rest on (or has been lifted from) the putting green, there is no penalty if the ball or ball-marker is accidentally moved by the player, partner, opponent, or any of their caddies or equipment. The moved ball or ball-marker must be replaced. (Note: If the ball was moved as a result of wind, water or some other natural cause such as the effects of gravity, the ball must be played as it lies from its new location with no penalty.)”

Some examples when this local rule applies are:

  • A player accidentally causes the ball to move when preparing to make a stroke on the green.
  • A player accidentally drops their club while resting on the green.
  • A player accidentally drops the ball on the ball-marker or accidentally drops the ball-marker on the ball while on the green
  • A player accidentally kicks and moves his/her ball on the green

In these instances the ball must be replaced with no penalty. 

The rule does not apply when 

  • A player intentionally moves their ball while on the green without first marking it's location. 
  • A player accidentally moved the ball while on the fairway, the rough or a bunker.
You can view the poster published by Golf Australia by clicking here.  You will also see copies of this around the pro shop.

R&A have published a Question and Answer sheet to help explain the new local rule.  You can download this from the link below.
Local Rule for Accidental Movement of a Ball on the Putting Green: Q&A