By Rules Guy
Friday, June 08, 2007

You hit your drive next to your buddy's ball. As you approach your tee shot, you realize that you and your playing partner are playing the exact same ball with identical markings. So to avoid confusion, you lift your ball and replace it with a ball with a different number and play out the hole. When you finish, your playing partner says you should be penalized for an illegal substitution. You should:

A. Take a total penalty of three strokes — 1 for lifting your ball in play, 2 for an illegal substitution.

B. Take a 1-stroke penalty for lifting and replacing your ball.

C. Take no penalty because the substitution was legal due to the confusion between distinguishing both balls.

Go to the next page for the answer.

You hit your drive next to your buddy's ball. As you approach your tee shot, you realize that you and your playing partner are playing the exact same ball with identical markings. So to avoid confusion, you lift your ball and replace it with a ball with a different number and play out the hole. When you finish, your playing partner says you should be penalized for an illegal substitution. You should:

A. Take a total penalty of three strokes — 1 for lifting your ball in play, 2 for an illegal substitution.

B. Take a 1-stroke penalty for lifting and replacing your ball.

C. Take no penalty because the substitution was legal due to the confusion between distinguishing both balls.

ANSWER: A. You must hole out with the ball you played from the tee box unless you are permitted a substitution. In this case, possible confusion between the two balls in play is not enough to allow a substitution. So you are penalized 1 stroke for lifting your ball in play (Rule 18-2a) and 2 strokes for the substitution (Rule 20-6).

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OUT
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IN