Q: Craig and Larry both hit their balls into a lateral water hazard at about the same spot. Jim, who is playing in their threesome, retrieves their balls and inadvertently hands Craig’s ball to Larry and Larry’s ball to Craig. Each player, in accordance with the rules, drops the ball handed to him and plays his shot to the green. When they reach the green and mark their balls, they both notice that they hit each other’s original ball. Do they have a problem?
A: No. The rules of golf authorize a player to drop a ball after hitting into a water hazard. The ball dropped does not have to be the same ball that was hit into the water hazard.
Therefore, there is no penalty for inadvertently exchanging each other’s ball.
Tip of the day: Always make sure that the ball you are preparing to hit is yours. There was no penalty in this case, but there would have been a two-stroke penalty if not for the water hazard.
As always, have fun playing and practicing the game of golf. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.
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