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New Local Rule as Advised by the R and A

The R&A and the USGA have announced the introduction of a new Local Rule that eliminates the penalty when a ball is accidentally moved on the putting green.  This rule will come into effect at Kingsknowe from 1 January 2017.  Eliminating this penalty responds to concerns from both golfers and committees about the difficulties in applying the current Rules when a player accidentally causes a ball to move on the putting green.  As a result, Rules 18-2, 18-3 and 20-1 are modified as follows:

When a player’s ball lies on the putting green, there is no penalty if the ball or ball-marker is accidentally moved by the player, his partner, his opponent, or any of their caddies or equipment.  The moved ball or ball-marker must be replaced as provided in Rules 18-2, 18-3 and 20-1. 

This Local Rule applies only when the player’s ball or ball-marker lies on the putting green and any movement is accidental. 

Note: If it is determined that a player’s ball on the putting green was moved as a result of wind, water or some other natural cause such as the effects of gravity, the ball must be played as it lies from its new location. A ball-marker moved in such circumstances is replaced.