Learning the Golf Rules


On a particular nice day we set out to play a round of golf. On this day the sun was shining but there was a slight breeze in the air. No big deal right? Well let’s just say we were playing with the rule book twins and on the 4th hole we had our first learning lesson of a ball in motion versus a ball at rest.

While twin #1 was setting up their putt and just hit the ball, a leave came flowing across the green and promptly interrupted the line of the ball. What call do you think should have been made? I’ll give you a moment, got your answer?

Being a newer player I didn’t even realize there was a rule in regards to the play. I just thought well, that’s a bummer guess you have to putt again. Oh no my friend, here is where the discussion between the twins began. Twin # 2 said it was an outside agency and that the ball would need to be played where it rested, I thought that sounded about right so I waited patiently for my turn.

To my surprise twin #1 said no, the ball was in motion and that the shot should be cancelled and that he should putt again. He then brought up the USGA rules on his phone to check and sure enough according to rule 19-1 says: If a player’s ball in motion after a stroke on the putting green is deflected or stopped by, or comes to rest in or on, any moving or animate outside agency, except a worm, insect or the like, the stroke is cancelled. The ball must be replaced and replayed.

The key phrase here is ball in motion versus the rule 18-1: If a ball at rest is moved by an outside agency, there is no penalty and the ball must be replaced.

The more I play, the more I learn. I must admit that it is nice to be able to play with people who understand the game a lot better than I do? Did this make me want to learn more rules? Well, not necessarily but it did make me more aware.