- That X-out, practice or refurbished golf ball may be used during a round unless there’s evidence that it doesn’t conform to the rules. However, if you’re playing in a tournament, check with event officials to find out if they require you to use a model on the List of Conforming Golf Balls, which doesn’t include these types of balls.
- You may clean a ball that has mud or anything else sticking to it after your ball is on the green, or if you’re lifting it from off the green to follow a rules procedure. There are three exceptions when you may not clean a ball when it’s lifted from off the green: (1) You’re lifting it to determine whether it’s unfit for play;
(2) You’re moving the ball because it’s assisting or interfering with the play of another golfer; (3) You’re trying to determine if the ball is yours. In this case, you may clean it only to the extent necessary to identify it.
- You can replace a ball that is in play if it’s cut, cracked or has lost its shape. If it’s only scuffed or worn, it may be replaced between holes or if another rule allows you to make a substitution. To replace an unfit ball during the play of a hole, announce your intention to inspect the ball and mark its position. Give your group a chance to inspect it and watch you switch it out of play. If it’s unfit, place a new ball where the original lay.
- You may pick up a ball you think is yours to identify it, but first tell the golfers in your group what you’re about to do, and mark its position. Also, give them a chance to watch the lifting and replacement. Placing a clear identification mark on your ball is suggested.
- Before lifting your ball on a putting green, you must mark it (a coin or similar object is recommended). The mark should be placed immediately behind the ball’s position, though it can be placed one or more clubhead-lengths to the side if it interferes with the stance, stroke or play of another golfer.
Q; What should you do if you and your partner hit tee shots with identical golf balls, and you can’t tell them apart when you’re in the fairway?
A; Both balls are considered lost. Take a stroke penalty, and return to the tee to play your third shot.
Did You Know?
If your ball breaks into pieces as a result of a stroke, the stroke is cancelled and you must play another ball as close as possible to the spot where the previous shot was played.