Rules: If wind moves your ball

PGA of America
USA Today Images
Wind can be a help and a hindrance on the golf course.
By Mark Aumann

Series: Golf Buzz

Published: Thursday, March 19, 2015 | 2:21 p.m.

If March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb, there's still a lot of ferocity from Mother Nature with one week to go before spring officially rolls in.

Consider Thursday's weather at the European Tour stop on the Madiera Islands. The wind -- clocked steadily at over 35 miles an hour and gusting as high as 47 mph -- forced tournament officials to postpone the round before it began and shorten the tournament to 54 holes.

How windy was it? At one point, tournament officials placed a golf ball on one of the greens and the wind actually pushed the ball some three feet into the hole.

BROKEN CLUBS: What's allowed under the rules?

And that brings up an interesting rule situation: We asked PGA Rules of Golf Vice Chairman, Mr. Chip Essig, to explain how you'd interpret the rules if this actually happened to you or someone in your group on an extremely windy day.

"Decision 18-1/12 in the Decisions on the Rules of Golf book states that wind is not an outside agency and if wind causes your ball to move, you should play the ball from its new position," Essig said. "If the wind blows the ball into the hole, the player would be deem to have holed out with his last stroke."

But what if you've marked the ball, then set it back down and the wind rolls it away from that spot? Are you required to return it to the original spot? Not according to the Rules.

"Decision 20-3d/1 states that even a ball that has been replaced on the green, if at rest on the spot which it was placed before it starts rolling, would be played from the new location if the wind caused it to move," Essig said. "However, the ball might be blown out of bounds instead of into the hole and the player’s ball would be deemed to lie out of bounds."

PLAYING LESSONS: Five tips to conquer the wind

To sum up, if wind moves your ball without outside influences, you must play the next stroke from the point where it eventually stops. If that happens to be in the hole, like in the video, that's tremendously good fortune. If it happens to roll off farther from the hole, or even off the green into a hazard, that's just tough luck.



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