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No More Penalty When Ball Accidentally Moves on Putting Green

December 8, 2016

No More Penalty When Ball Accidentally Moves on Putting Green

NCGA Rules of Golf

Photo AP

The USGA and The R&A announced Thursday the introduction of a new Local Rule that eliminates the penalty when a ball is accidentally moved on the putting green.

The Local Rule will be available for any committee in charge of a competition to use starting Jan. 1, 2017. It will be adopted by the USGA and The R&A in all of their championships, qualifying competitions and international matches.

“Eliminating this penalty responds to the concerns we have heard 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,” said Thomas Pagel, USGA senior director, Rules of Golf and Amateur Status. “This change is a good example of the type of Rules Modernization changes we hope to implement after completing our fundamental review of all of the Rules. We are looking for ways to improve the Rules by making them easier to understand and apply.”

The Local Rule has been welcomed by all of the major tours worldwide, and the PGA Tour, European Tour, LPGA, PGA of America and the Masters Tournament are among the golf organizations that will implement the Local Rule for all future events, beginning Jan.1, 2017.  The rule will also be implemented in NCGA Championships.

“We’re excited to implement this new Local Rule, eliminating one of the most frustrating and controversial penalties in the game,” said NCGA Director of Rules and Competitions Ryan Farb. “It is important to emphasize that for now, it is a Local Rule and we encourage our member clubs to implement it at their facilities in 2017.”

The Local Rule, if adopted, will in a nutshell read: “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.”

For more information about the new Local Rule, including explanatory diagrams, videos and a detailed question-and-answer document, please visit

-NCGA Staff




Author: Jerry Stewart

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