July - 2010

Wind is element of golf that presents many challenges. It can affect your swing, your balance, your ball in flight, and even a ball at rest on the green. Under the definition for an Outside Agency, neither wind nor water is an outside agency.

Outside Agency

In match play, an "outside agency" is any agency other than either the player's or opponent's side, any caddie of either side, any ball played by either side at the hole being played or any equipment of either side.

In stroke play, an outside agency is any agency other than the competitor's side, any caddie of the side, any ball played by the side at the hole being played or any equipment of the side.

An outside agency includes a referee, a marker, an observer and a forecaddie.

Neither wind nor water is an outside agency.

18-1. By Outside Agency.

If a ball at rest is moved by an outside agency, there is no penalty and the ball must be replaced.

Note: It is a question of fact whether a ball has been moved by an outside agency. In order to apply this Rule, it must be known or virtually certain that an outside agency has moved the ball. In the absence of such knowledge or certainty, the player must play the ball as it lies or, if the ball is not found, proceed under Rule 27-1.

(Player's ball at rest moved by another ball - see Rule 18-5.)

How this Rule can affect you is very important to understand when your ball is at rest on the green. Decisions 18-1/12 , and 18-2a/7 explain how to proceed.

18-1/12Ball Replaced and at Rest Is Thereafter Moved by Wind

Q. A player replaces his ball on the putting green and the ball is at rest. Before the player addresses the ball, a sudden gust of wind blows the ball farther from the hole. The player plays the ball from its new position. Is that correct?

A. Yes. Wind is not an outside agency - see Definition of "Outside Agency." Accordingly, Rule 18-1 does not apply.

18-2a/7 Ball Moved by Wind Replaced

Q. In stroke play, a competitor's ball was moved by wind. Since wind is not an outside agency (see Definition of "Outside Agency"), he should have played it from where it came to rest, but he replaced it. What is the ruling?

A. The competitor incurred one penalty stroke under Rule 18-2a, and, before playing his next stroke, he should have replaced the ball on the spot where it came to rest after being moved by the wind. If he did not do so, he incurred a total penalty of two strokes - see penalty statement under Rule 18:

*Penalty for Breach of Rule: Match play - Loss of hole; Stroke play - Two strokes.

*If a player who is required to replace a ball fails to do so, or if he makes a stroke at a ball substituted under Rule 18 when such substitution is not permitted, he incurs the general penalty for breach of Rule 18, but there is no additional penalty under this Rule.

Derek Duesler