fbpx
ball moved by an animal

Get out of the way! This new Local Rule can help you shift stubborn animals

 

The list of Local Rules for Final Open Qualifying contained something new. So new, in fact, that it had only been published the day before the 36-hole marathon got under away at West Lancashire, Royal Cinque Ports, Dundonald, and Royal Porthcawl.

But it’s not just a rule that might help the best in the game. If your club brings it in, it might one day get you out of a tight spot as well.

When you play a sport in nature, it’s inevitable that, sometimes, those who live in the great outdoors will refuse to play ball.

Some animals are loose impediments – think spiders, worms, insects. You’re allowed to move them, in any way that you see fit, but if the ball moves while you’re doing it you get a one-shot penalty.

What, though, if an animal is not a loose impediment? What if it’s something sturdier altogether – like a stubborn squirrel, a grumpy goose, or – at some clubs I’ve been at – something even weightier like sheep or deer?

A new Model Local Rule – E-13 – seeks to address this. When an animal is touching or is near a player’s ball, you can try to shoo it away. If it causes the ball to move while you’re doing so, then it’s been moved by an outside influence (Rule 9.6) and you just replace it.

remove animal from ball

If whatever is causing the hold up is a bit more reluctant, though, you had an unpredictable choice. You could try and get rid of the animal and risk a one-shot penalty if you caused the ball to move. You could play it as lies – good luck trying to find a stance – or you could take penalty relief.

All pretty unsatisfactory options if you found yourself in a pickle.

With the new Local Rule, should your club implement it, you can remove the animal without fear of consequence (just don’t be rough!).

Here’s what it says:

“A player may remove an animal, other than those defined as a loose impediment, that is touching or near their ball without penalty and may do so in any way. If the player’s ball moves while they are removing the animal: There is no penalty, and the ball must be replaced on its original spot (which if not known must be estimated).

It will be interesting to see what classifies as “near” – it might rather depend on the animal – but this feels like a sensible solution which may even find its way into the full Rules of Golf at the next revision in 2027.

Have you ever had trouble removing an animal from your golf ball? Let me know with a tweet.

Tom Irwin

Tom Irwin

Tom is a lifetime golfer, now over 30 years playing the game. 2023 marks 10 years in golf publishing and he is still holding down a + handicap at Alwoodley in Leeds. He has played over 600 golf courses, and has been a member of at least four including his first love Louth, in Lincolnshire. Tom likes unbranded clothing, natural fibres, and pencil bags. Seacroft in Lincolnshire is where it starts and ends.

Latest Posts

2023 Rules of Golf changes replacing golf ball on spot

Rules of Golf

England Golf extend period for preferred lies

By

Read full article about England Golf extend period for preferred lies
rules beginner

Rules of Golf

What are the key rules beginner golfers should know?

By

Read full article about What are the key rules beginner golfers should know?
Want to play the same game as the pros? That means playing the same Rules!

Rules of Golf

Want to play the same game as the pros? That means playing the same Rules!

By

Read full article about Want to play the same game as the pros? That means playing the same Rules!
gary woodland

Rules of Golf

Can you look into a player’s bag to see what club they’re using?

By

Read full article about Can you look into a player’s bag to see what club they’re using?
winter rules

Rules of Golf

5 Winter Rules Golfers Break!

By

Read full article about 5 Winter Rules Golfers Break!
golf divot

Rules of Golf

My ball has landed on a divot – can I move it?

By

Read full article about My ball has landed on a divot – can I move it?
animal scrapings

Rules of Golf

Do I get free relief from animal scrapings?

By

Read full article about Do I get free relief from animal scrapings?
rule changes

Rules of Golf

5 Rule Changes You Need To Know!

By

Read full article about 5 Rule Changes You Need To Know!
Golf club committee

Rules of Golf

The prizes were handed out but the committee got my score wrong – should the results be changed?

By

Read full article about The prizes were handed out but the committee got my score wrong – should the results be changed?