Golf Rules – What Happens When You Accidently Double Hit the Golf Ball

Question

  • If you hit your ball, and then hit it again while it is moving. Does that count as one stroke or two strokes, and are there any penalties?

Answer

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Rule

  • Rule 10.1a – Fairly Striking the Ball

In making a stroke:

  • The player must fairly strike at the ball with the head of the club such that there is only momentary contact between the club and the ball and must not push, scrape or scoop the ball.
  • If the player’s club accidentally hits the ball more than once, there has been only one stroke and there is no penalty.
  • Rule 10.1d – Playing Moving Ball

A player must not make a stroke at a moving ball:

  • A ball in play is “moving” when it is not at rest on a spot.
  • If a ball that has come to rest is wobbling (sometimes referred to as oscillating) but stays on or returns to its original spot, it is treated as being at rest and is not a moving ball.

But there are three exceptions where there is no penalty:

  • Exception 1 – Ball Begins to Move Only after Player Begins Backswing for Stroke: Making a stroke at a moving ball in this situation is covered by Rule 9.1b, not by this Rule.
  • Exception 2 – Ball Falling Off Tee: Making a stroke at a ball falling off a tee is covered by Rule 6.2b(5), not by this Rule.
  • Exception 3 – Ball Moving in Water: When a ball is moving in temporary water or in water in a penalty area:
    • The player may make a stroke at the moving ball without penalty, or
    • The player may take relief under Rule 16.1 or 17, and may lift the moving ball.
      • In either case, the player must not unreasonably delay play (see Rule 5.6a) to allow the wind or water current to move the ball to a better place.

Penalty for Breach of Rule 10.1: General Penalty.

In stroke play, a stroke made in breach of this Rule counts and the player gets two penalty strokes.

Blakey’s Explanation and Example

Analysis

If you hit your ball while it is in motion, how many strokes count and whether there is a penalty depends on whether the subsequent strikes were accidental or deliberate.

  • There is no penalty if the extra hits of the ball while it was in motion were accidental, but the extra strikes do count if it was deliberate, plus there is a general penalty for each time a intended strike is made at the ball in motion. (Exceptions to be covered in a future article).

Blakey’s Golf Tips

Wait until your ball is at rest to make a stroke at your ball. If your ball is going somewhere it shouldn’t be, you can always deem it unplayable, and put another ball into play at your last spot played for a penalty of one. Plus there are other options if your ball has gone into a penalty area (Rule 17.1) or into an unplayable lie (Rule 19.2).

 
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