Golf Rules

MATCH PLAY DECISION 2-4/4

Interesting match play ruling

 

Decision 2-4/4

Whether Picking Up Opponent’s Ball Is Concession of Next Stroke.

Q: In match play, A holes a putt and, thinking she has won the match, picks up B’s ball. B then advices A that she (B) had a putt to win the hole. Did A concede B’s next stroke when she picked up B’s ball?

 

A: No, A incurred a penalty of one stroke under Rule 18-3b; B must replace her ball and now has two putts to win the hole.

 

Rule 18 Ball at rest moved

Rule 18-3 BY OPPONENT, CADDIE OR EQUIPMENT IN MATCH PLAY

Rule 18-3b Other than during search

If, other than during search for a player’s ball, an opponent, her caddie or her equipment moves the ball, touches it purposely or causes it to move, except as otherwise provided in the Rules, the opponent incurs a penalty of one stroke. If the ball is moved, it must be replaced.

ACCIDENTAL MOVEMENT OF BALL ON PUTTING GREEN

THIS IS A LOCAL RULE AND NEEDS TO BE POSTED ON YOUR CLUB LOCAL RULES BOARD OR ON THE BACK OF THEIR CARD

New Local Rule

ACCIDENTAL MOVEMENT OF BALL ON PUTTING GREEN

Rule 18-2, Rule 18-3 and Rule 20-1 are modified as follows:

When a player’s ball lies on the putting green, there is no penalty if the ball or ball-marker is accidentally moved by the player, her partner, her opponent, or any of their caddies or equipment.

The moved ball or ball-marker must be replaced as provided in Rule 18-2, 18-3 and 20-1.

This Local Rule applies only when the player’s ball or ball-marker lies on the putting green and any movement is accidental.

Note: If it is determined that a player’s ball on the putting green was moved as a result of   wind, water or some other natural cause such as the effects of gravity. The ball   must be played as it lies from its new location. A ball-marker moved in such circumstances is replaced.

Animals, Birds and Insects

..... Animals, Birds and Insects
 
Q1: A bee is a loose impediment True or False?
 
 
A1: True. The Definition of Loose Impediments includes insects.

Q2: From a distance, a player sees a fox pick up their ball from the fairway, walk a few yards and drop it nearer to the hole. What is the ruling? a) It is a rub of the green, so the player may play the ball from where the fox drops it. b) The player may estimate where the ball was when the fox picked it up and place the ball there. c) The player may estimate where the ball was when the fox picked it up and drop the ball there.


 
 
 
A2: c) The player may estimate where the ball was when the fox picked it up and drop the ball there. Rules 18-1 and 20-3c(i).

Q3: A player may take relief from footsteps made by gulls in a bunker. True or False?
 
 
A3: False. A footprint is an irregularity of surface and not a hole, cast or runway. Decision 25/19.5.

Q4: In which of the following scenarios is a player not take permitted to take relief? a) When their ball comes to rest close to a bird's nest. b) When their ball comes to rest near a live snake, c) When their ball comes to rest in an area of poison ivy. d) When their ball comes to rest on a fire-ants mound.
 
 
A4: c) When their ball comes to rest in an area of poison ivy. Decision 1-4/11.

Q5: The ball from a player's tee shot is deflected off a bird in flight and it drops into a lake. The player may cancel the stroke and play again, without penalty. True or False?
 
 
A5: False. It is a rub of the green, there is no penalty and the player must take one of the relief options for a ball in a water hazard. Rule 19-1.

Q6: Both ant hills and mole hills are loose impediments. True or False?


 
 
 
A6: False: An ant hill is a cast made by insects and is a loose impediment, but mole hills are made by burrowing animals and are an abnormal ground condition. Decision 23/11.

Q7: A fly is crawling on a player's ball lying on the fairway. Which of the following statements is incorrect? a) The player may remove the fly with his fingers. b) The player may remove the fly by blowing it away. c) The fly may not be moved because it is adhering to the ball. d) The fly is a loose impediment.
 
 
A7: c) The fly may not be moved because it is adhering to the ball, is the incorrect statement. Decision 23-1/5.

Q8: On a dog-leg par-5, a player hits a blind shot over trees. When they round the corner they are surprised that they cannot see their ball in the middle of the fairway. They see a dog running off into the distance and reason that the dog must have picked-up their ball. What is the ruling? a) The player may drop a ball where they estimate the ball would have been at rest. b) The player may return to where they last played from and drop a ball there, without penalty. c) The player must return to where they last played from under penalty of stroke and distance.
 
A8: c) The player must return to where they last played from under penalty of stroke and distance. Rule 27-1a.

Q9: A cast made by a lizard, crocodile, tortoise or snake is an abnormal ground condition. True or False?
 
 
A9: True. Definition of Abnormal Ground Conditions.
 
Good golfing,

Rules queries from 14th August 2014

QUESTION 1
A PLAYERS BALL WAS RESTING UP AGAINST A SMALL BROKEN TREE BRANCH IN THE ROUGH.   SHE MOVED THE BRANCH (TWIGG) AND CAUSED THE BALL TO MOVE.  SHE REPLACED THE BALL AND INFORMED HER PLAYING OPPONENTS THAT IT WAS WITHOUT PENALTY AND THAT IT WAS IN ORDER AS SHE HAD REPLACED THE BALL.  

ANSWER
She caused her ball to move, replaced it which is the correct thing to do, but under a penalty of one shot (Rule 18-2a) if she hadn't replaced it, it would have been a two shot penalty in stroke play and loss of hole in match play (Rule 20-7b)

QUESTION 2
A PLAYER PLAYED A WRONG BALL OUT OF THE ROUGH.   IN FACT IT WAS AN OLD  RANGE BALL.    SHE INSISTED THAT IT WAS WITHOUT PENALTY AS IT WAS NOT A BALL BELONGING TO ANY OF THE PLAYERS.
ANSWER
Playing any wrong ball, range ball or opponents, partners or one from another fairway is a two stroke penalty in strokeplay and loss of hole in match play (Rule 15-3a)

Decision 2-4/6

 

Putting out after concession of stroke

 

Rule 2-4 does not cover the question of whether a player may putt out after his next stroke has been conceded. A player incurs no penalty for holing out in such circumstances. However, if the act would be of assistance to a partner in a four-ball or best-ball match, the partner is, in equity (Rule 1-4), disqualified for the hole.

Rule 3-3

 

Doubt as to procedure

 

a.Procedure

 

In stroke play, if a competitor is doubtful of his right or the correct procedure during the play of a hole, he may, without penalty, complete the hole with two balls.

 

  After the doubtful situation has arisen and before taking further action, the competitor must announce to his marker or fellow-competitor that he intends to play two balls and which ball he wishes to count if the Rules permit.

 

  The competitor must report the facts of the situation to the committee before returning his score card. If he fails to do so, he is disqualified.

 

Note: If the competitor takes further action before dealing with the doubtful situation, Rule 3-3 is not applicable. The score with the original ball counts or, if the original ball is not the one of the being played, the score with the first ball put into play counts, even if the Rules do not allow the procedure adopted for that ball. However, the competitor incurs no penalty for having played a second ball, and any penalty strokes incurred solely by playing that ball do not count in his score.

Setting the scene:-

A player’s ball comes to rest in the bark chips in the bowl of a tree. The player thinks she may be entitled to FREE relief from the bark chips in the bowl of the tree but is not sure. She informs her marker that she would like to invoke Rule 3-3 ie play two balls. She says she would like the score with the second ball to count if she is entitled to FREE relief.

She must then play her original ball as it lies, then drop a second ball in accordance with the GUR rule, free relief, one club length from nearest point of relief. She then plays out the hole with both balls. She scores a 4 with the original ball and a 3 with the second ball. When she comes in, before signing her card, she consults a rules official and finds out that there is NO FREE relief from the bark chips in the bowls of the trees as they are an integral part of the course and the ball must be played as it lies, her score of 4 attained with the original ball therefore counts.

The general rule of thumb in this situation is that you would  nominate the second ball to count as you are hoping for FREE relief.

Decision 7-1b/7

Decision 7-1b/7 Competitor Practises Putting on The 3rd Green After Finishing Hole During First Round of 36-Hole Strokeplay Competition

Question:- A 36-hole strokeplay competition was scheduled to be played on one day. During the first round a competitor, having holed out on the 3rd hole, plays a practice putt on the 3rd green. Is the competitor disqualified under Rule 7-1b for practising on the course before his second round?

 Answer:- No. A competitor is entitled to do anything which the Rules permit him to do during a stipulated round. Rule 7-2 permits a players between the play of two holes to practise putting or chipping on or near the putting green of the hole last played, any practice putting green or the teeing ground of the next hole to be played in the round, provided such practice stroke is not played from a hazard and does not unduly delay play (Rule 6-7).

Decision 8-2b/2

Decision 8-2b/2 Caddie Attending Flagstick Advises Player To Aim At His Foot

Question:- A player’s ball lies on the putting green and his caddie attends the flagstick for him. The caddie suggests, before the stroke, that the player should aim at the caddies left foot. Is the player in breach of Rule 8-2b?

Answer:- If the caddie had placed his foot in position for the purpose of pointing out the line of putt, the player was in breach of Rule 8-2b as soon as the caddie placed his foot in that position. The breach could not be corrected by the caddie subsequently moving his foot.

    If the caddie did not initially place his foot in such a position for the purpose of pointing out the line for putting but subsequently suggested the player aim at his left foot, the player would be in breach of Rule 8-2b if the caddie did not move that foot to another position that does not indicate a line for putting.

Rule 11-5

Playing from the wrong teeing ground (Rule 11-5)

Setting the scene:

A player tees off from the senior men's teebox which is adjacent to the ladies tee box. She realises her error when her fellow competitiors tee up from the correct tee box. A fellow competitor says that there is no problem as she "has not gained any significant advantage" The player does not correct her error and completes her 18 holes.

This is totally incorrect.

The player, under Rule 11-5, is required to correct her error by teeing off from the correct tee box and incurs a two shot penalty. This must be done before she tees off from the next teeing ground. If she does not do this, she is disqualified. The shots played from the wrong tee box do not count.

If the men's senior tee markers had been directly behind the ladies tee markers and within 2 club lengths of the ladies tee markers, there would have been no penalty. Definition of the teeing ground is between the designated tee markers and then 2 club lengths in depth.

Decision 13-2/8

Decision 13-2/8 Player's Lie or Line of Play Affected by Pitch-Mark Made by Partner's, Opponent's or Fellow-Competitior's Ball

Question:- A player's lie or line through the gree is affected by a pitch-mark made by his partner's, his opponent's or a fellow-competitior's ball. Is the player entitiled to relief?

Answer:- If the pitch-mark was there before the player's ball came to rest, he is not entitled to relief without penalty.

If the pitch-mark was created after the player's ball came to rest, in equity (Rule1-4), he may repair the pitch-mark. A player is entitled to the lie which his stroke gave him.

Decision - 13-2/8.5

Decision 13-2/8.5 Player's Lie Affected by Sand from Partner's, Opponent's or Fellow Competitor's Stroke from Bunker

Question:- A's ball is on the apron between the green and a bunker. A's partner, opponent or fello-competitor (B) plays from the bunker and deposits sand on and around A's ball. Is A entitled to any relief?

Answer:- Yes. A is entitled to the lie and line of play he had when his ball came to rest. Accordingly, in equity (Rule 1-4), he entitled to remove the sand deposited by B's stroke and lift his ball and clean it, without penalty

 

Decision 13-4/4

Decision 13-4/4

Touching Grass with Club During Practice Swing in Hazard

Question:- A player takes a practice swing in a water hazard without grounding his club, but his club touches some long grass. Is there a penalty?

Answer:- No – see Note to Rule 13-4. However the player must ensure that his actions do not breach Rule 13-2 or constitute testing the conditions of the Hazard.

 

Interesting Note to Rule 13-4 Ball In Hazard; Prohibited Actions

At any time, including at address or in the backward movement for the stroke, the player may touch, with a club or otherwise, any obstruction, any construction declared by the Committee to be an integral part of the course or any grass, bush, tree or other growing thing.

Decision 13-4/8

Decision 13-4/8

When Club Touches Ground in Grass in Water Hazard

Question:- If a player’s ball lies in a water hazard, when is his club in tall grass considered to be touching the ground in the water hazard, in Breach of Rule 13-4b?

Answer:- When the grass is compressed to the point where it will support the weight of the club (i.e when the club is grounded)

 

Decision 14-4/3

Decision 14-4/3 Player Hits Behind Ball and The Strikes Moving Ball

Question: In playing a chip shot, a player’s club strikes the ground several inches behind the ball and does not come into contact with the ball. However, the ground is struck with enough force to cause the ball to move. The player’s club continues and strikes the ball while it is moving. What is the ruling?
Answer: The player must count his stroke and add a penalty under Rule 14-4. Even though the club itself did not initially strike the ball, the ball was put into motion due to the stroke; therefore, Rule 14-4 applies.

Decision 15/5

Decision 15/5 Original Ball Found and Played After Another Ball Put into Play

Question:-A player unable to find her ball after a brief search drops another ball (Ball B) under Rule 27-1 and plays it. Her original ball is then found within five minutes after search for it began. The player lifted Ball B and continued play with the original ball. Was this correct?

Answer:- No. When the player put the substituted ball into play at the spot of the previous stroke with the intent to play under Rule 27-1, she proceeded under an applicable Rule. Therefore, Rule 20-6 does not apply, and she must continue with the substituted ball (see Decision 27-1/2). The original ball was lost when Ball B was dropped under Rule 27-1 (see Definition of “Lost Ball”)

 When the player lifted Ball B, she incurred a penalty of one stroke under Rule 18-2a. When she made a stroke with the original ball after it was out of play, she played a wrong ball (see Definitions of “Ball in Play” and “Wrong Ball”) and incurred a penalty of loss of hole in match play or an additional penalty of two strokes in stroke play (Rule 15-3). In stroke play, the player would be disqualified if, before playing from the next teeing ground, she did not correct her error (Rule 15-3b).

Rule 16-1

Testing the Surface of the Putting Green - Barry Rhodes Rules School

Question 1:
In match play, a player concedes his opponent's putt and then as a courtesy casually rolls the ball back to him one-handed, coincidentally not far from the line on which he now has to putt. What is the ruling?

Answer 1:
No penalty is incurred as it appears obvious from the manner and purpose of the player's action that he was not testing the surface of the putting green, nor obtaining information for his line of putt. Decisions 16-1d/1 & /2.

 

Question 2:
A player lightly places the palm of his hand on the putting green behind his ball to determine how wet the grass is. Does he incur a penalty?

Answer 2:
No. There is no breach of Rule 16-1d (see below) and, as the line of putt is not touched there is no breach of Rule 16-1a. Decision 16-1d/4.

Part of Rule 16-1d states:
During the stipulated round, a player must not test the surface of any putting green by rolling a ball or roughening or scraping the surface.

Rule 18-2

Ball resting against a rake.

A player may take relief, without penalty, from a movable obstruction as follows:

  1. If the ball does not lie in or on the obstruction, the obstruction may be removed. If the ball moves, it MUST be replaced, and there is no penalty, provided that the movement of the ball is directly attributable to the removal of the obstruction. Otherwise, Rule 18-2a applies.

It is recommended as best practice to mark the position of the ball prior to removing the movable obstruction. Should the ball move as result of removing the marker, which in itself is a moveable obstruction, the ball must be replaced.

Decision 18 - 2

Question:- When is a club considered grounded in long grass?

Answer:- When the grass is compressed to the point where it will support the weight of the club.

Rule 18-2a Ian Poulter Blunder

Ian Poulter’s Rules Blunder in China
Posted: 29 Apr 2014 12:03 PM PDT

Courtesy Barry Rhodes
Ian Poulter was penalised two strokes when he dropped at the wrong place in taking relief from a path, during his second round at the Volvo China Open in Schenzhen. It was yet another case of an experienced Tour professional making an elementary mistake when taking relief from an immovable obstruction, a procedure that most of the 60 million golfers around the world regularly face, so you would think that it should be second nature to professional golfers. But once again, the player’s caddie, his fellow competitors, their caddies, any Rules official that may have been present and a large group of spectators, all watched the drop being made at the wrong place without one of them stepping in to prevent the breach of Rule. The circumstances were that after hitting his drive into dense foliage on the par-5, 13th hole, Poulter deemed his ball unplayable and dropped a ball within two club-lengths of where it was at rest, for a penalty of one stroke (Rule 28). This meant dropping onto a path, an immovable obstruction, from where he was then entitled to take free relief (Rule 24-2a). But, instead of determining the nearest point of relief and dropping within one club-length of that point, not nearer the hole, he took almost two club-lengths relief before dropping. Had anyone intervened at this point Poulter could still have picked up his ball and dropped it within the permitted area without incurring the penalty, Rule 20-6;
A ball incorrectly substituted, dropped or placed in a wrong place or otherwise not in accordance with the Rules but not played may be lifted, without penalty, and the player must then proceed correctly.
Unfortunately, no-one said a word before Poulter played his next stroke and because he had played from a wrong place he incurred a penalty of two strokes (Rule 20-7), making three penalty strokes and a triple bogey score of 8 for the hole. He went on to survive the weekend cut by just one stroke and finished the event in a tie for 5th place; Two strokes better would have put him in a tie for 3rd place.

Ian Poulter was pragmatic about the incident immediately following his round. He said;
“(It was a) schoolboy error. I have just made a mistake. We make them and I guess that was a fun one. I took two club lengths as opposed to one and it’s a two shot penalty which turned a bad six into a really bad eight, so not the best of holes. I guess I need to get the Rules book back out and start chewing it. Sometimes we are a bit thick and that was one of those times.”
Quite! There is no need for any further comment from me!

Good Golfing,

Decision 18-2a/2

 

Decision 18-2a/2

Ball Falling Off Tee When Stroke Just Touches It Is Picked Up and Re-Teed.

Question:- A player making his stroke on a hole just touched the ball and it fell off the tee. He picked up the ball, re-teed and played out the hole. What is the ruling?

 

Answer:- When the player made a stroke, the ball was in play (see Definition of “Ball in Play”). When he lifted the ball, he incurred a penalty of one stroke under Rule 18-2a and was required to replace it. However, when the player made a stroke at the re-teed ball, he played a ball under penalty of stroke and distance (see Rule 27-1a). This procedure overrides Rule 18-2a and, therefore, the penalty under Rule 18-2a does not apply.

Note: The player was therefore playing three off the tee.

Decision 18-2a/19

Decision 18-2a/19 Ball Moved Accidentally by Practice Swing Prior to Tee Shot

Question:- Before playing from the teeing ground, a player took a practice swing, in the course of which he accidentally struck and moved the teed ball with his club. Did the player play a stroke or incur a penalty?
Answer:-The player did not make a stroke (see Definition of 'Stroke'). Since the ball was not in play (see Definition of 'Ball' in 'Play') he incurred no penalty under Rule 18-2a. The player must put a ball into play from the teeing ground.

Definition of Teeing Ground
It is the rectangular area two club lengths in depth, the front and the sides of which are defined by the outside limits of the two tee-markers. A ball is outside the teeing ground when all of it lies outside the teeing ground. Penalty from playing outside the teeing ground is 2 shots and a ball must be played from within the teeing ground

 

Decision 18-2a/28

Decision 18-2a/28 Ball Dislodged from Tree; Circumstances in Which Player is Penalised

Question: A player could not find his ball. Believing the ball might be in a tree, he shook the tree and his ball fell to the ground. He played the ball from where it came to rest. What is the ruling?

Answer: The player incurred one penalty stroke under Rule 18-2a for moving his ball. He should have replaced it. Since he did not do so, in match play he lost the hole and in stroke play he incurred a total penalty of two strokes – see penalty statement under Rule 18.

Rule 19-3

Some interesting Matchplay Rules you may be unaware of -Barry Rhodes Rules School

Barry Rhodes Rules School

Some interesting Matchplay Rules you may not be aware of:
•    A player may practice anywhere on the course, on the day of the match. Rule 7-1.
•    If you play a stroke and your ball hits your opponent, his caddie, or his equipment you can choose whether to replay the stroke or accept it and play your next shot from where it comes to rest. Rule 19-3. This might not seem fair if your wild shank has hit your opponent where it hurts and stops at his feet, but that is the Rule, so use it when it benefits you.
•    Similarly, if a player, when starting a hole, plays a ball from outside the teeing ground, there is no penalty, but the opponent may immediately require the player to cancel the stroke and play a ball from within the teeing ground.
•    Here is an unusual one, which not many match players know about. If a putt from the putting green hits another ball at rest on the putting green, whether it is your side or your opponents' there is no penalty in match play, whereas there is a two stokes penalty in stroke play. Rule 19-5. Just play your ball from where it comes to rest and ensure that the ball that you moved is replaced back to where it was.
•    You are not required to keep a score card in match play, as each hole is either won by one side or the other, or halved between them, and the winner is the player who wins the most holes. For example, if a player is 3 holes up and there are only two holes of the stipulated round remaining the match is over with a result of 3 and 2.
•    In stroke play players may not suspend play for bad weather, unless they consider there is danger from lightning. If they do, the Committee would be justified in disqualifying them. Not so in match play, where players may discontinue their match by agreement, unless by so doing the competition is delayed.
•    If a match is discontinued by agreement, e.g. due to darkness or threat of lightning, the match must be resumed from where it was discontinued; the players do not start the round again.
•    Unlike stroke play, where you have an obligation to your fellow competitors to report every breach of a Rule that you witness, you do not have to in match play situations, as you may disregard, or overlook any breach of a Rule by your opponent. The reason for this is that only you, or your side, are affected. It does not affect anyone other entrant in the match play competition. However, you still must not say anything to your opponent, as under Rule 1-3 there cannot be agreement with your opponent to waive any penalty incurred by either side.
•    If a player incurs a penalty that was not observed by their opponent they must inform the opponent as soon as practicable. If the player fails to do so before their opponent makes their next stroke they lose the hole, Rule 9-2b. This penalty also applies if a player gives incorrect information during play of a hole regarding the number of strokes taken and does not correct the mistake before their opponent makes their next stroke.

Finally, players competing against each other in a match are opponents; in stroke play a fellow-competitor is any person with whom the competitor plays their round. Neither is partner of the other.

I hope that by overviewing these differences you will understand why it is not permitted to play a stroke play competition at the same time as a match play round of golf, Rule 33-1. Match play is a great format but when you play make sure that you understand where the Rules differ from those that you are more familiar with.

Rule 20

It seems such a simple matter, but there are considerations about placing and replacing a ball that golfers should be aware of. I hope that you find this question and answer format useful.

What is the difference between placing and replacing?
Sometimes the Rules require a ball to be ‘placed’ at a different spot from where it came to rest (e.g. after a ball has been dropped and re-dropped under penalty from an unplayable lie and it has again rolled to a place that makes the drop invalid, it must then be placed at the spot where it first struck a part of the course when re-dropped). When the Rules require that the ball is put back at the same spot that it was lifted from it is being ‘replaced’ (e.g. having been marked and lifted from the putting green).

Who may place and replace a ball?
A ball to be placed under the Rules must be placed by the player or his partner. A ball to be replaced under the Rules must be replaced by any one of the following: (i) the person who lifted or moved the ball, (ii) the player, or (iii) the player’s partner.

Is there a penalty if I move my ball-marker while replacing my ball, or move my ball when I am placing my ball marker?
There is no penalty, providing the movement of the ball or ball-marker is directly attributable to the specific act of placing or replacing the ball or removing the ball-marker. However, if you accidentally drop your ball on your ball-marker, causing it to move, then you incur a penalty, as Ian Poulter found to his cost in Dubai in November, 2010. (Click on this link for the details).

What must I do if the original lie of my ball on a fairway or in the rough has been altered?
The ball must be placed in the nearest lie most similar to the original lie that is not more than one club-length away, not nearer the hole and not in a hazard.

What must I do if the original lie of my ball in a bunker has been altered?
The original lie must be re-created as nearly as possible and the ball must be placed in that lie.

What must I do if it is impossible to determine the spot where the ball is to be placed or replaced (e.g. someone wrongly played my ball while I was some way away from it and they threw it back to me)?
If the ball was lying through the green it must be dropped as near as possible to the place where it lay, but not in a hazard or on a putting green; if it was in a hazard, the ball must be dropped in the hazard as near as possible to the place where it lay; if it was on the putting green, the ball must be placed as near as possible to the place where it lay, but not in a hazard.

What must I do if my ball will not come to rest at the spot that I have to place or replace it?
The ball must be placed at the nearest spot where it will come to rest that is not nearer the hole. If it was in a hazard that spot must be in the hazard, if it was not then it must not be placed in a hazard, even if that is where the nearest point is.

What must I do if, after I have placed my ball at rest, it subsequently moves?
The ball is in play as soon as it is at rest, so it must be played from where it moves to, without penalty, whether that is nearer to the hole or farther away from it.

May I (re)place my ball more than once?
If you have replaced your ball at a marker on the putting green you may mark and lift it again (e.g. to line-up markings on the ball to the line of putt). However, a ball that has been (re)placed off the putting green (e.g. when a Local Rule for Preferred Lies is in operation) may not be lifted again once it has come to rest after placing, because it is in play.

What is the penalty if I wrongly substitute a ball when placing or replacing it (i.e. exchange the original ball with another ball)?
The penalty is two strokes in stroke play or loss of hole in match play.

What is the penalty if I drop a ball that should have been placed, or place a ball that should have been dropped?
The penalty is two strokes in stroke play or loss of hole in match play.

What is the penalty if a ball that is to be placed or replaced is placed other than on the spot from which it was lifted or moved and the error is not corrected?
The penalty is two strokes in stroke play or loss of hole in match play.

If I place my ball at the wrong spot may I correct the error before making my stroke?
Yes, A ball placed at a wrong spot but not played may be lifted, without penalty, and the placed at the correct place (Rule 20-6). 

 
So, placing and replacing is not such a simple matter and can incur unnecessary penalties if not carried out according to the Rules!

Decision 20-1/14

Decision 20-1/14 Ball Moved by Putter by Player Approaching Ball to Lift It

Question:-A player approaching his ball on the putting green to lift it, dropped his putter on his ball and moved it. Is it correct that there is no penalty in view of Rule 20-1 under which a player incurs no penalty if he accidentally moves his ball in the process of lifting it?
Answer:
No. The player incurred a penalty of one stroke under Rule 18-2a because the movement of the ball was not directly attributable to the specific act of marking the position of or lifting the ball. The ball must be replaced.

Rule - Loose impediments

Loose impediments in a hazard- Barry Rhodes Rules School

Question 1:
As a player approaches their ball lying in a bunker they accidentally kick a pine cone into the bunker. May they remove the pine cone, which was not there when their ball came to rest?

Question 2:
A player accidentally kicks a pine cone into a bunker causing their ball that is lying in the bunker to move. What is the ruling?

Answer 1:
No, the pine cone is a loose impediment, which may not be removed when it lies in the same bunker as the player's ball. Decision 13-4/14.

Answer 2:
The player incurs a penalty of one stroke for causing their ball to move and the ball must be replaced. Rule 18-2a(i).

Question 3:
A player has taken their shoes and socks off so that they can play their ball, which is lying in shallow water in a lateral water hazard.
a) Are they penalised if they touch reeds that are growing close to their ball on a practice swing?
b) Are they penalised if they touch reeds that are growing close to their ball on the backswing of their stroke?
c) Are they penalised if they touch dead reeds that are floating close to their ball on the backswing of their stroke?

Answer 3:
a) No, providing they do not improve their area of intended stance or swing. Decision 13-4/4.
b) No, providing they do not improve their area of intended stance or swing. Note to Rule 13-4.
c) Yes. A player incurs a penalty of two strokes in stroke play, or loss of hole in match play, for touching a loose impediment that is lying in the hazard. Rule 13-4c.

Note to Rule 13-4. Ball in Hazard; Prohibited Actions:
Note: At any time, including at address or in the backward movement for the stroke, the player may touch, with a club or otherwise, any obstruction, any construction declared by the Committee to be an integral part of the course or any grass, bush, tree or other growing thing.

Rule 24-2

Relief from greenside irrigation sprinklers

More and more golf courses install irrigation systems around their greens to keep the turf healthy and ensure that grasses are properly watered, to assist their recovery and provide a better surface for putting. Sprinkler heads around putting greens can sometimes lead to confusion amongst golfers as to whether they get relief from them in a variety of circumstances, which I will try to clarify here.

Q. May I take relief if my ball lies on or against a sprinkler head? Photo a) above.

A. Yes, a sprinkler head is an immovable obstruction, from which the player may take relief under Rule 24-2b.

Q. May I take relief if a sprinkler head interferes with my stance? Photo b) above.

A. Yes, as in the first question, a sprinkler head is an immovable obstruction, from which the player may take relief under Rule 24-2b if it interferes with their stance or area of intended swing.

Q. May I take relief if there is mental interference, but not physical interference, for my intended stroke by a sprinkler head? Photo c) above.

A. No, there is no relief for mental interference by an immovable obstruction, Decision 24-2a/1.

Q. May I take relief from a sprinkler head at the side of a putting green that is on my line of play if there is no relevant Local Rule in operation? Photo d) above.

A. No, in the absence of any Local Rule the Rules of Golf do not provide for line of play relief; but see the next question.

Q. May a Committee introduce a Local Rule permitting line of play from a sprinkler head close to a putting green?

A. Yes, Appendix l, Part A permits a Local Rule providing relief from intervention by immovable obstructions on or within two club-lengths of the putting green when the ball lies within two club-lengths of the immovable obstruction.

So, many Committees introduce a Local Rule following this specimen Local Rule in Appendix l, Part B, 6;

If a ball lies through the green and an immovable obstruction on or within two club-lengths of the putting green and within two club-lengths of the ball intervenes on the line of play between the ball and the hole, the player may take relief as follows:

The ball must be lifted and dropped at the nearest point to where the ball lay that (a) is not nearer the hole, (b) avoids intervention and (c) is not in a hazard or on a putting green.