Rules Guy: When playing lift, clean and place, can you move the ball with your club?
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We were playing with the “lift, clean and place” local rule in effect. A player in my foursome was in the fairway and started to roll the ball with his clubhead before realizing that it’s lift, not roll. He proceeded to mark his ball and go through the procedure correctly. But had the player committed a violation by first touching the ball with his club? —Dudley Campbell, Scottsdale, Ariz.
There may be no erasers on golf pencils, but there’s a very handy one in the Rules of Golf. Dudley, say hello to Rule 14.5, aka the “Eraser” rule. (No, Rules Guy didn’t make up that nickname; it’s a real thing.)
This rule allows for correcting without penalty a mistake in dropping, placing, replacing or substituting a ball, as long as it’s done prior to the player making the next stroke. So, while it is in fact required to use your hand when placing a ball, in this instance, since the mistake was corrected, it falls under “no harm, no foul.”
Had it not been corrected, the sanction would have been one penalty stroke for replacing in a wrong way.
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