Read That Golf Ball Before You Play It
Rule 15: Wrong Ball, Substituted Ball
A wrong ball is any ball other than the player's.
Jim and Dennis teed off, both playing Maxfli Revolution No. 3 balls, and both hit their shots into light rough on the right side of the fairway. Jim approached the nearest ball, peered down at it through the grass and saw the trademark and No. 3. He pulled out a 6-iron and hit a beautiful shot three feet from the pin for an apparent birdie putt.
Dennis then went to the other ball, selected a club and took his stance. Then he stopped and turned to Jim.
"Are you sure you hit the right ball?" he asked.
"Sure, I did," Jim replied. "I checked it, a Maxfli Revolution 3."
"Well, this is a Maxfli 3, all right," Dennis said, "and that's what I was playing, too. But my ball had a Tar Heel logo on it, and I don't think this one does."
It didn't. And the ball Jim had hit did. So Dennis was allowed to drop a ball from the spot where Jim had hit. Jim then had to play his own ball from where it lay. This time he dumped it in a greenside bunker, blasted out and two-putted for a 7 that included a two-shot penalty.
If a golfer plays a stroke with a wrong ball, except in a hazard, he loses the hole in match play. In stroke play, a competitor immediately suffers a two-stroke penalty and doesn't count any strokes played with the wrong ball. If the mistake is not rectified, the penalty is disqualification.
Rectification means returning to play the correct ball before teeing off on the next hole, or if the mistake is made on the last hole, before he leaves the putting green.
Rule 15-1 states that a player must hole out with the ball played from the teeing ground unless a rule permits him to substitute another ball. If a player substitutes another ball when not so permitted, that ball is not a wrong ball. It becomes the ball in play and, if the error is not corrected as provided in rule 20-6, the player must take a loss of hole in match play or two strokes in stroke play.
Rule 20-6 states: A ball incorrectly substituted, dropped or placed in a wrong place or otherwise not in accordance with the rules but not played, may be lifted, without penalty, and the player shall then proceed correctly.
Players should always have identifying marks on ball and play the same ones through the green.
A ball may be changed anytime between holes, but may not be changed during a hole unless it is damaged to the extent that it cannot be played.
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