Has your pretty TP5 been swallowed up by the blades of a grass trimmer? Our expert tries to point you in the right direction

The grass is growing, the mowers are seriously off, and every once in a while our ball might fall victim to one of those big blades. It’s like that.

But do the rules of golf burden you with misery as you retrieve the pieces of your shredded pearly globe?

Sheila O’Sullivan sent me the following email. “I was playing in a local club competition and the greenkeepers mowed my ball. It was my second shot and I could clearly see the ball but when I got there it was gone and the mower was mowing around that area.

“I dropped another ball where I saw it land and got a stroke penalty, but I’ve since gotten a call from the committee saying I should have gone back there from there. where I shot.

“This member was coming after me and found the ball cut in half which had obviously been spat out later by the mower.”

So what if your ball falls victim to the blades of a lawn mower? Let’s dive into…

Rules of Golf Explained: Ball Lifted or Moved by Outside Influence

These kinds of scenarios, which really aren’t that rare, may seem complicated but can be quite simple to sort through. A mower would be an outside influence and Rule 9.6 join the game.

If an outside influence has lifted or moved a player’s ball, there is no penalty and the ball must be replaced on its original spot (or estimated if not known).

This is the case whether the ball was found or not, so if the mower sucked it up and it disappeared, don’t despair. You can also take a look at Rule 14.2 to learn more about replacing a ball on the spot and when you are able to use “another ball”.

But there is one very important fact in all of this that you need to consider. You must know, or be virtually certain, that an outside influence lifted or moved your ball.

I’ve gone through the definition of this a few times – and you can go into more detail here – but essentially you – or someone else – must have seen the event happen, or it must be of at least least 95 percent probably it happened.

If you cannot do this, and the ball is then lost, you have no choice but to take stroke-and-distance relief.

Do you have a question for our Rules of Golf expert?

Despite the simplification of the Rules of Golf in early 2019, there are still some that leave us perplexed. And as I passed the R&A Tier 2 rules exam with distinction, I’m more than happy to help and will feature the best in this column. I’ve obviously been quite popular over the past few weeks as I have a huge backlog of inquiries and will try to get back to you in due course.

Click here to access the full archive of Rules of Golf Explained and how to submit a question to our expert.

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