Inside the Rules
Every two weeks MGA Senior Director of Rules and Competitions Gene Westmoreland will answer one question posed by the readers of the MGA e-Revision Newsletter (click here to sign up). Dick from Long Island asked Gene the following Rules question:
A golfer addresses his ball on the tee box preparing to hit his drive. He accidentally hits the ball off the tee approx. 3-4 inches. May he replace the ball onto the tee without penalty?
Hello Dick: A ball does not become “in play” until the player makes a stroke at it. Until the ball is “in play” there is no penalty if the player should accidentally move it (such as when you address the ball). So when you tee your ball to hit a tee shot and accidentally knock it off the tee there is no penalty. The ball may be re-teed or even moved to another spot within the teeing ground.