Golf Rules: What If A Ball Hits Another Ball?

by Steve | Last Updated: 27 August 2021

Have you ever hit your ball into a ball that has already been played?

Hitting your ball into another ball on the course is a common occurrence, but it can be hard to know what happens next.

There are many rules that govern balls hitting each other on the golf course and they vary depending where you hit your ball from and where it hits another.

For instance, are there any penalties and do you need to put the ball back to its original position?

It’s just like golf to have more than one rule, because it depends on where you happen to be hitting your ball from and where on the course the ball collides.

In this article we’ll take a look at all the scenarios, what happens next and any penalties that are incurred.

What If Golf Balls Hit Another Ball From Off The Tee

If you manage to hit a tee shot and it hits another players ball then there is no penalty and both balls are to be played as they lie, except when the ball was on the green..

If the moved ball was on the green, on a par 3 for instance, then the other player gets to replace the ball back to its original position.

If the moved ball is anywhere but on the green than there’s no need to worry about having to replace them back to their original positions.

What If Golf Balls Hit Another Ball From Off The Fairway

If your ball strikes another players ball on the fairway by accident, both players will play from where their balls lie.

There is no penalty incurred.

And once again there’s no need to worry about having to replace the balls back to their original positions.

What If Golf Balls Hit Another Ball On The Green

There is no penalty when your ball is played from off the putting green and it hits another players ball.

You play the ball as it lies and the other player gets to replace the ball back to its original position.

In match play there is no penalty.

However, in stroke play, when you play a ball on the putting green and it hits another ball, also on the putting green, the person making the stroke incurs a two stroke penalty.

In order to avoid a penalty a player may ask the other player to mark the position and lift their ball off the putting green before making the stroke.

If you make a putt from the putting green and it goes off the green and hits another ball, which is not on the putting green, perhaps on the fringe, then there is no penalty.

How To Replace The Ball That Was Moved

It can be common for your ball to hit another one on the course.

The rules vary depending where you are and what happens next, so it’s important to know how golf balls interact with each other before you go out onto the green (pun intended).

As we have discussed above, whenever a ball that is in play and at rest, is moved by another ball in motion after a stroke, the stationary moved ball must always be replaced.

It is a principle of the rules of golf that a player is entitled to the lie and line of play that they had when their ball came to rest.

When a ball is to be replaced, the player, his partner or the person who moved it must place it on the spot from which it was lifted or moved.

Sometimes this happens from a distance or at speed, which can make it difficult to be exact, so the players must make their best judgement to estimate where the ball was lying before it was moved.

Steve King, the founder of Fore King Golf, started playing golf at the tender age of 29, after years spent playing many other sports and getting dodgy knees. Although late to the game, Steve soon fell in love with the sport and found himself, like many others, addicted to the pursuit of improvement and playing better. He is currently a member of The Kendleshire Golf Club & Hercules Golf Society, as well as running several competitions for Fore King Golf