Fore King Golf

What If A Ball Hits Another Ball?


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

Hitting your ball into another ball on the course is not really a common occurrence, but when it does happen 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.

These scenarios are covered under Rule 9 of the Rules Of Golf and cover the following;

  • Ball Played as It Lies
  • Ball at Rest Lifted or Moved

The Purpose of Rule 9 covers a central principle of the game: “play the ball as it lies.”

  • If the player’s ball comes to rest and is then moved by natural forces such as wind or water, the player normally must play it from its new spot

  • If a ball at rest is lifted or moved by anyone or any outside influence before the stroke is made, the ball must be replaced on its original spot.

  • Players should take care when near any ball at rest, and a player who causes their own ball or an opponent’s ball to move will normally get a penalty (except on the putting green).

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

What If Golf Balls Hit Another Ball From Off The Tee

If it is known or virtually certain that an outside influence (including another player in stroke play or another ball) lifted or moved a player’s ball at rest:

There is no penalty,

and the ball must be replaced on its original spot (which if not known must be estimated)

This applies whether or not the player’s ball has been found.

What If Golf Balls Hit Another Ball From Off The Fairway

If your ball strikes another players ball on the fairway by accident,

There is no penalty incurred.

Your ball can be played as it lies but the other ball, which was moved, must be replaced on its original spot (which if not known must be estimated)

Golfers putting on a green

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

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).

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

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.