Rules Guy: What do you do when your ball lands on a golf cart that drives away?

golf cart driving

What do you do when a golf cart drives away with your ball in it?

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The Rules of Golf are tricky! Thankfully, we’ve got the guru. Our Rules Guy knows the book front to back. Got a question? He’s got all the answers.

Last night, I was playing with a buddy. He hit into the green, but the group ahead hadn’t quite pulled away yet. His approach was heading toward them, and we yelled fore. The ball hit the cart path and seemingly disappeared. Turned out, it had banked off a tree and landed atop their cart before they’d driven off to the next tee box, which was where we discovered this fact. Where does my friend drop the ball? —Don Walter, Kalispell, MT

Firstly, thanks for yelling fore but also tell your buddy to slow his roll.

Second, the cart is a movable objection; ergo, your friend’s ball came to rest atop a movable obstruction. And, yes, there’s a rule for that.

Under Rule 15.2a(2), you estimate the spot on the ground under where the ball first came to rest on top of the cart and drop within one club length, no nearer the hole than that spot. You’ll likely be on the cart path and could then play it from there or take cart-path relief.  

For more golf-cart-related guidance from our guru, read on …

Rules Guy: What do you do if someone runs over your ball in a golf cart?
By: Rules Guy

Beautiful sunny day, match play. I drive up next to my ball in the fairway, and the shadow from my cart is over my ball. My opponent tells me I need to move my cart, that the shadow over the ball was improving my lie. Is he joking? He is not. I move my cart and play on. Is he right — or crazy? —Daniel Kramer, Scottsdale, Ariz.

So, your opponent threw shade at you, eh?

Let’s put it this way, Daniel: He’s half-right, at least in the rules sense. “Shading” the ball isn’t improving the lie, which relates to Rule 8.1.

But a player can’t deliberately position an object for the purpose of blocking sunlight; doing so breaches Rule 10.2b(5) [see interpretation 10.2b(5)1] and garners the general penalty of two strokes in stroke play and loss of hole in match play. If you didn’t deliberately put the cart there for that purpose, there’s no breach under this rule.

In the future, though, find a parking spot farther away from your ball — a little more exercise never hurt anyone.

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Got a question about the Rules? Ask the Rules Guy! Send your queries, confusions and comments to We promise he won’t throw the book at you.

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