When Two Golf Balls Collide

When Golf Balls Collide

Is there a penalty for hitting another golf ball on the green or anywhere in the golf course? While it is rare, striking your ball only to hit another golf ball at rest on the fairway or green is possible. So what is the sport of golf’s ruling for hitting someone else’s golf ball?

There are two rules that will help settle the fateful scenario. But the penalties involve or actions to take right after the ball collision depends on:

  • When both golf balls are in the green
  • When neither or one (1) of the golf balls is in the green

When both are in the green

We are basically talking about players playing in the putting green already in this instance. So when player A putts his ball only to collide with player B’s ball resting on the green, player A whose ball was in motion will be penalized.

When neither or one (1) is in the green

In this instance, we are talking about tee shots or approaches. For example, your tee stroke ended up with your ball running into another ball resting on the fairway or your approach shot ended up with your ball hitting another ball resting on the green. In this case, there is no penalty to the players involved.

The penalty

Basically the player whose ball is in motion will absorb the penalty when collision between balls takes place in the putting green. It is going to be a 2-stroke penalty against the golfer whose stroke caused the collision. The golfer whose ball was at rest when struck will not be penalized.

Rule 9.6

What happens to the moved ball and the ball influencing the movement? How will the players involved in the golf ball collision proceed with the shifted balls? This is where Rule 9.6, Ball Lifted or Moved By Outside Influence, come into effect.

Under this rule, the player whose ball was responsible for the collision will have to play his ball as it lies. On the other hand, the player whose ball was resting before the collision will have to replace his ball back to its original position.

When the involved players fail to observe the expected actions after ball collision, the following penalties will be given:

  • In match plays – loss of hole
  • In stroke plays – 2-stroke penalty

Rule 11.1

As mentioned, a penalty will be served when the ball collision takes place in the putting green. But this is more of a concern for the player whose ball is in motion, not for the player whose ball is resting. The penalty is covered by Rule 11.1 Your Ball In Motion Accidentally Hits Person or Outside Influence. But the penalty depends on the type of play:

  • In match plays – no penalty
  • In stroke plays – 2-stroke penalty

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