Rules Guy: What happens if you drop your club and it hits your ball?

What happens if a dropped club makes contact with your ball?

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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.

I was watching a Champions Tour event recently, and a player who shall remain nameless using a long (but presumably not anchored) putter missed a short putt. He dropped the flatstick in disgust, and it came very close to hitting his ball at rest. Had it done so, would there have been a penalty? —Mark Pozniak, Red Hook, N.Y.

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Surely any broom-wielding holdout has suffered enough indignity, no? And, in fact, this disgusted one would have been in the clear regardless, as the relevant Rule, 13.1(d), turns on the question of whether the player accidentally caused the ball to move, not on whether he intended to drop the putter.

As contact clearly would have been accidental, he’d simply move the ball back to its original location with no penalty … and try to hole another shorty with his longy.

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