What to do when a dog or other outside agency moves, deflects or runs away with your ball in play?


Ball at rest anywhere on the course picked up by a dog.

A dog or other animate outside agency (like a player from another group on the course!) moves, picks up or runs away with the ball. Once it is known or virtually certain that the ball at rest was moved by an outside agency, the ball must be replaced with no penalty.

(1) Jane’s ball is lying at rest on the fairway. As she nears the ball, a fox runs over, picks it up and drops it 20 yards away under a tree. Jane must replace her ball from where it was lifted.  No penalty.

(2) Mary’s ball is at rest on the green after a stroke from the fairway.  As she nears the green a dog runs over, picks up her ball, runs and drops it in a bunker. As her ball was at rest, she may replace her ball on the green on the same spot from where it was lifted. No penalty.

In both cases the ball may be substituted if the original is not recoverable.

Rule 18-1 Ball at Rest Moved by Outside Agency

Moving ball deflected or picked up by a fox.

You need to determine whether the ball in motion was deflected or picked up by the outside agency and whether the stroke was taken from off the green or on the green – so we have two distinct scenarios under the Rules.

The first is when the stroke was taken from OFF the green.

A player makes a stroke on the fairway and while it is still moving, a fox (or other inanimate outside agency like a truck in Bearna!) deflects the ball to about 20 feet away from the hole. As it was deflected, it is played as it lies, without penalty, from the spot to where it was deflected by the fox.  If the fox had picked up the moving ball rather than deflect it, the player should place the ball, without penalty, as near as possible to the spot where the original ball was when the fox picked it up.

(1) John is on the fairway. He hits a shot and while his ball is still in motion it is deflected by the fox and lands in a green side bunker.  He now must play the ball from its new position in the bunker, what we call a ‘rub of the green’.

(2) Jane, his fellow competitor, is about 100 yds from the green. She hits her ball and it rolls right up to about 2 feet from the pin. Before it comes to rest, the fox picks up the ball and runs away with it. Jane may now replace the ball from where the fox picked it up. No penalty.

She may substitute a ball if her own is not immediately recoverable.

The second is when the stroke is made ON the putting green.

A player makes a stroke on the putting green and while the ball is still in motion, it is picked up and carried away, or is deflected by a fox. When a ball has been deflected or stopped by an outside agency (except a worm, insect or the like) and the stroke was made on the putting green, the stroke is cancelled and the ball must be replayed. If the ball is not immediately recoverable another ball may be substituted. No penalty.

(3) Peter’s ball lies on the green. He putts and as his ball is rolling towards the hole, a fox runs across the green and either deflects or picks up his ball. As the stroke was made from the green, he must cancel the stroke and replay it.

Ball in Motion Deflected or Stopped by Outside Agency Rule 19-1

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