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Golf’s Governing Bodies Announce New Local Rule: Local Rule: Accidental Movement of a Ball on the Putting Green

As golf’s governing body in Canada, Golf Canada, in conjunction with The R&A and the United States Golf Association (USGA), has announced a new Local Rule which will come into effect January 1, 2017.

Along with the R&A and USGA, Golf Canada holds a unique position as the only other governing body that sits on the Joint Rules Committee.

Golf Canada will be implementing this Local Rule as part of their Standard Local Rules which will be formally ratified at their annual general meeting by the Rules and Amateur Status Committee. The Local Rule will be available for any committee in charge of a competition to use starting Jan. 1, 2017. It will be adopted by the USGA and The R&A in all of their championships, qualifying competitions and international matches. Golf Ontario has also opted to make this part of its Standard Local Rules and will be effective in all its qualifying and championships in 2017.

If a committee wishes to introduce this Local Rule, the following wording is recommended: “Rules 18-2, 18-3 and 20-1 are modified as follows:

When a player’s ball lies on the putting green, there is no penalty if the ball or ball-marker is accidentally moved by the player, his partner, his opponent, or any of their caddies or equipment.

The moved ball or ball-marker must be replaced as provided in Rules 18-2, 18-3 and 20-1.

This Local Rule applies only when the player’s ball or ball-marker lies on the putting green and any movement is accidental.

Note: If it is determined that a player’s ball on the putting green 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. A ball-marker moved in such circumstances is replaced.

Further reading:

R&A – Click here for The R&A News Release including video