Our review of the 20 biggest changes to the 2019 Rules of Golf continues, and we’re still in the “pretty straightforward” portion of the list.
Today’s topic: a ball in motion accidentally deflected.
In the past, you earned a penalty if you struck a shot that then accidentally hit your body, equipment or caddie. But there was no penalty if you hit just about anything else on the golf course.
Since both the frequency and end result of accidentally hitting yourself or equipment is totally random, the USGA decided that there should be no penalty for it starting in 2019.
Now, no matter what it is that you hit — yourself included — just find it and play the ball as it lies.
However, know that it still IS a penalty if you intentionally position your equipment or caddie to act as a backstop, or intentionally stop a ricocheted shot that’s headed towards trouble with your body. That’s not “accidental.”
And if you are putting on the green and accidentally hit another player’s ball sitting on that green, that accidental deflection still a penalty too.
Otherwise, hit whatever you’d like on the course: no penalty…