Stumped by something you've seen out on the course? Our Rules of Golf expert delves into the book to find you the answers

Despite the simplification of the Rules of Golf at the beginning of 2019, there are still some that stump us. And as I’ve passed the R&A’s level 2 rules exam with distinction, I am more than happy to help. George Bankes got in touch via Twitter with this poser: “A player was taking a while to hit his shot and one of the fourball started to walk forward. When he was about 25 yards away, the player took his shot and it veered into the guy walking – hitting hard. Are there any penalties for hitting your opponent with a ball?”

Rules of Golf explained: Our expert says…

Ouch. I’ve been struck at close range by a howitzer and I can tell you it’s no fun. But if the player was upset at decking a fellow golfer, at least they didn’t have the knockout blow of a penalty to deal with too. Rule 11.1a in the Rules of Golf says: “If a player’s ball in motion accidentally hits any person or outside influence, there is no penalty to any player. “This is true even if the ball hits the player, the opponent, or any other player or any of their caddies or equipment.” The player has to play the ball as it lies, except in two situations. The first is when a ball played from anywhere except the putting green comes to rest on a person, animal, or moving outside influence. In that case, the player has to take relief. The other exception is when a ball played from a putting green accidentally hits a person, animal, or movable obstruction on the green – and that includes another ball in motion. Then the stroke doesn’t count and has to be played again. Got a Rules of Golf question you need answering? Leave it in the comments, email me or tweet me.

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