16th @Brokenhurst – Touching Your Ball to Identify it

The 16th is a fairly straightforward par 5. It plays slightly downhill to a ditch crossing at 350 yards or so from the tee, and the slightly up hill to the green 150 yards further on. Long hitters will need to avoid the left hand bunkers from the tee and in some conditions will be concerned about running in to the ditch. Shorter hitters will be more concerned about carrying over the ditch with their second. It is difficult to tell how far back the pin is on the large green. A birdie chance for some, and shouldn’t cause much trouble if you manage to avoid those ditches.

Your ball is in the rough and you can’t quite see the number or your identifying marks on it, so you need to rotate it or lift it up to check it is yours. Simple? Before the 2019 rules revision you had to call your opponent / fellow competitor to allow them the chance to witness your actions. You don’t need to do that now, but you must mark the ball before you touch it or you will incur an immediate 1 stroke penalty for lifting or deliberately touching your ball under Rule 9.4b

This is probably the most regularly broken rule that I witness. It is so easy when searching to find a ball and then lift it to see if it is yours without marking it first. If you ACCIDENTALLY move your ball during a search that is OK (but you must place it back in position, including the lie it was it – which probably wasn’t great if you couldn’t see the ball first). However, having found a ball the act of rotating it or picking it up cannot be described as accidental so the penalty for DELIBERATELY touching your ball will apply if it is yours. Of course you must also replace in exactly the same position before playing it.

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