The Practice Area: Introduction to Ball at Rest Lifted or Moved
The game of golf is a series of strokes on each hole starting from the teeing area and concluding when the ball is at rest in the bottom of the hole. Generally, the ball must be played as it lies after each stroke and may not be touched until the hole is completed. Sounds simple right? If only the game and its Rules were that simple!
Richard S. Tufts spoke to this in his 2nd great principle behind the Rules, which reads, “you put your ball in play at the start of the hole, play only your own ball and do not touch it until you lift it from the hole.”
You can learn more about the principles that form the foundation to the Rules of Golf in his classic writing, The Principles Behind the Rules of Golf, which the USGA rules team is currently in the final stages of revising to match the modernized Rules of Golf and hopes to have available in early 2021.
It’s this simple concept we’ll explore in the third round of The Short Course, primarily focusing on Rule 9. Keeping this principle in mind, you are generally expected to exercise caution around your ball in play, as well as your opponent’s ball in match play. And, if you cause your ball to move, you’ll almost always be required to replace it. We’ll see this theme repeat throughout this round. You’ll also learn about a number of exceptions that, though you still need to replace your ball before playing, will allow you to do so with getting a penalty stoke.
As you continue warming up, let’s move your attention away from that bucket of range balls for a moment. If you’ve played The Short Course before, you’ve likely heard us stress the importance of understanding the definitions in the Rules of Golf. The definition of “move” is perhaps the best example to offer up on this point. The Rules define a ball as having moved only when it leaves its original spot and comes to rest anywhere else (noting, that move could be vertically upwards or downwards or horizontal movement).
This also means that when the ball returns to its original spot, it has not moved. You’ve likely seen this during your own play, such as accidentally bumping your ball on the putting green and having it rock forward and then back, or when addressing your ball in the rough and your club compresses the grass at address and your ball drops slightly but rises back up to its original position when you remove your club. In both of these situations, while you might see your ball “move,” the Rules do not treat such as a ball as having “moved” because it did not come to rest in another spot.
Further, “moved” also includes an additional standard referred to as the naked eye standard, which can be summarized to mean that if a person with normal vision couldn’t have seen the ball move, it didn’t move. This is further explained in Interpretation Moved/2 and creates a buffer to protect golfers, who are limited in what they can see, from the constant advances in technology, especially as it relates to high-definition video.
Regrettably we didn’t include any questions on the naked eye standard in this round of the Short Course, but there was a great example during the PGA TOUR’s Memorial Tournament when the ball of Jon Rahm moved shortly before he made a stroke that provided a great example of how this standard can apply in the field (you can read more about this incident here).
Back to your warmup, there’s two key questions that have to be answered when dealing with a ball at rest moved situation. The first is whether the ball moved. And the second is whether that movement was known or virtual certainty to have occurred.
Knowledge or virtual certainty (sometimes called KVC by us Rules geeks) is another key definition, used in several places in the Rules, including twice in this topic. It is frequently misunderstood, and therefore often misapplied by golfers. Known of virtually certain is a very high standard for deciding what happened to a player’s ball such that there is either conclusive evidence that the event in question happened (like a witness saw it happen) or by using all readily available information, there is 95% certainty that is occurred. Knowledge or virtual certainty is not assuming or guessing what happened to the ball. In fact, it’s very much the opposite – it’s that there is little to no doubt what happened to the player’s ball.
If you do have knowledge or virtual certainty that your ball moved, the next question is what caused the ball to move? Here the Rules recognize only four possibilities (natural forces, you (the player), your opponent in match play, or an outside influence), and in the Short Course, your job will often be figure out from the facts what or who caused it to move. The answer to that will directly you to a specific sub-Rule in Rule 9 that tells you how to proceed, and whether there is a penalty.
In order to treat a ball as having been moved by the player, an opponent or outside influence, it must be known or virtually certain that was the cause (with one exception you’ll be sure to encounter on the Short Course). Otherwise, the Rules default to natural forces.
Hopefully, you’ve taken in the definitions and concepts covered during your practice sessions and can reinforce that knowledge on the front nine. You’re likely to need it all once you make the turn. Good luck and play well, your group is on next on the tee.
理查德-S-塔夫斯(Richard S. Tufts)在规则背后的第2大原则中就谈到了这一点，他写道：“你在一洞开始的时候把你的球置于比赛状态中，你只打你自己的球同时不要触碰它，直到你从洞内将它拿起来。“
当你继续热身的时候，让我们暂时把你的注意力从那一篮练习球上移开。如果你以前玩过USGA的短杆球场（Short Course)，你可能听过我们强调理解高尔夫规则中定义的重要性。”移动 “的定义也许是最好的例子。规则中定义，只有当球离开原地，停在其他任何地方时，才算移动（注意，这种移动可以是垂直向上或向下，也可以是水平移动）。
这也意味着，当球回到原点时，它没有移动。你可能在自己的比赛中看到过这种情况，比如在推杆果岭上不小心碰到了球，球向前晃了晃，然后又向后晃了回来；又或者在长草里准备击球时，你的球杆压住了草，你的球稍稍下坠，但当你移开球杆时，球又升回到原来的位置。在这两种情况下，虽然你可能会看到你的球 “移动”，但规则并不将这视为球的 “移动”，因为它并没有停在了另一个地方。
此外，”移动 “还包括一个额外的标准，称为肉眼标准，可以概括为：如果一个人以正常的视力不可能看到球移动，（那么）它就没有移动。这一点在释义Moved/2中做了进一步的解释并建立了一个缓冲：（就是说）球手的责任只限于他们所能见到的。以此保护球手免受不断进步的科技—— 尤其是与高清视频带来的相关影响。