You've found your ball and it's on a tee box. What do the rules dictate you must do? Allow our expert to help

To tee or not to tee? That is indeed the question. So thanks to Anne Greenwell for emailing me the following: “What happens if a ball lands on an adjacent green or an adjacent tee?”

Interesting poser, Anne, because though this might feel like it’s the same situation it provides two different answers…

Rules of Golf explained: Ball lands on wrong green or another tee

Let’s start with the green. If your ball ends up on any putting surface other than the hole to which you’re playing then you are on a wrong green. I’ve written loads about wrong greens, which you can read here.

Did you know a wrong green is part of the general area? And so is any other teeing location apart from the teeing area you must play in starting a hole.

Tenuous link, I know. But here’s where there is a difference. While you are compelled under the rules to take relief from a wrong green (unless a Local Rule is in place denying relief from stance interference), that’s not the case if you find yourself on another teeing area.

It might drive your greenkeepers crazy but in this situation you play it as it lies and that’s applicable to all other teeing locations, whether it’s an adjacent hole or a different tee box on the same hole you’re playing.

Could clubs bring in a Local Rule to prevent this? I haven’t seen anything in the Model Local Rules that specifically covers it – I can’t imagine it comes up all that often – but I suppose it would be possible for a committee to declare any other teeing locations, other than the one for the hole you are playing, as No Play Zones. That would force players to take relief.

I imagine, though, that could get quite tricky in some cases. When taking relief from a No Play Zone, you need to find the nearest point of complete relief. You might end up with a worse lie.

One final thing to remember, hitting a ball from an adjacent tee is different to starting a hole and playing from the wrong tee markers. I know you probably all know this but, just for the one that might be confused, here’s what you can do in those circumstances.

Have a question for our Rules of Golf expert?

Despite the simplification of the Rules of Golf at the beginning of 2019, there are still some that leave us scratching our heads. And as I’ve passed the R&A’s level 2 rules exam with distinction, I am more than happy to help.

If you’ve sent me an email and are yet to hear back from me, I will try to answer your query. I’m still inundated with requests and trying to get through them.

Just to reiterate, I continue to receive emails from players hoping I can intervene in a club rules dispute. For fairly obvious reasons, I can’t do that and would direct those players either to their county or to the rules department at the R&A for a definitive judgement.

Click here for the full Rules of Golf explained archive and details of how to submit a question to our expert.

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Steve Carroll

A journalist for 23 years, Steve has been immersed in club golf for almost as long. A former captain and committee member, he has passed the Level 3 Rules of Golf exam with distinction having attended the national Tournament Administrators and Referee's Seminar. He has officiated at a host of high-profile tournaments, including Open Regional Qualifying and the PGA Fourball Championship. A member of NCG's Top 100s panel, Steve has a particular love of links golf and is frantically trying to restore his single-figure handicap.

Handicap: 10.9

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