Rules Guy: What do you do when you suspect that someone tampered with your lie?

What do you do when your seemingly OB-bound ball winds up on the right side of the fence?

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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.

The other day I hit a tee ball that looked like it was headed OB, on the wrong side of a chain-link fence. I looked for my original ball and found it inbounds. On the other side of the fence were children playing … whose grins made me suspect they’d just done me a favor. Do I play on and assume I got a lucky bounce or…? —Bill Berg, Dallas, Texas

Bill, either you have a guilty conscience or you’re a fine reader of children’s minds, a skill that Rules Guy lacks, at least according to Rules Boy.

A look alone doesn’t mean you have the information you need to act upon. If there’s some doubt as to the status of the ball and whether it was moved from out of bounds, you need to figure that out. Next time, just nicely ask the kids what happened.

If the ball wasn’t touched, obviously you’re in the clear; if it was tossed from OB back into play, you’d proceed accordingly … back to the tee box, under Rule 18.2b, hitting 3 but with a clean conscience.

golf ball OB stake
Rules Guy: Can you move an OB stake if it hinders your swing?
By: Rules Guy

For more OB guidance from our guru, read on …

You hit a ball, and it breaks into two parts. One part lands on the green, the other part out of bounds. What is the rule as to how to proceed? 
—J. Herring, via email

Did you hit the ball with a golf club or a lawnmower, J? Was this a gutta percha ball or a feathery?

This kind of thing doesn’t happen much anymore, thanks to modern technology, but on the rare occasion it does, Rule 4.2b covers matters — the stroke doesn’t count, and you go back and play again from where you made that last, scything, ill-fated stroke. 

Need help unriddling the greens at your home course? Pick up a custom Green Book from 8AM Golf affiliate Golf Logix.

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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