Ask the Rules Guy: Off the Mark

Ask the Rules Guy

Dear Rules Guy: My buddy and I landed our second shots just off the green within inches of each other. He was a few inches farther out and played first after I marked my ball. He hit both his ball and my marker, which rolled close to the cup. I offered to drop where we had first landed but he insisted I play from where my ball marker was. I declared that I was playing both balls and finished the hole. What’s the ruling?
— Jake Jones, Waipahu, Hawaii

You both missed the mark. Any time your ball or your ball marker is moved by someone else, you must place (not drop) the ball back where it originally came to rest and then play from there. Dropping it is a two-stroke penalty for playing from the wrong spot. If he altered your original lie during his shot, you could have placed your ball as near as possible to the original spot within a club length, and no closer to the hole.