Rules of Golf - Rule 22: Ball Assisting or Interfering With Play

(Editor's Note: What follows is text of Rule 22 as it appeared in the Rules of Golf that were in effect through Dec. 31, 2018. As of Jan. 1, 2019, a new version of the Rules of Golf went into effect. The new rules are condensed and in some cases greatly rewritten or rearranged. See A Quick Introduction to the Rules of Golf for a summary of the new rules. To read the new rules in full, visit USGA.org or RandA.org.)

The Official Rules of Golf appear on the About.com Golf site courtesy of the USGA, are used with permission, and may not be reprinted without the permission of the USGA.

22-1. Ball Assisting Play

Except when a ball is in motion, if a player considers that a ball might assist any other player, he may:

a. Lift the ball if it is his ball; or
b. Have any other ball lifted.

A ball lifted under this Rule must be replaced (see Rule 20-3). The ball must not be cleaned, unless it lies on the putting green (see Rule 21).

In stroke play, a player required to lift his ball may play first rather than lift the ball.

In stroke play, if the Committee determines that competitors have agreed not to lift a ball that might assist any competitor, they are disqualified.

Note: When another ball is in motion, a ball that might influence the movement of the ball in motion must not be lifted.

22-2. Ball Interfering with Play

Except when a ball is in motion, if a player considers that another ball might interfere with his play, he may have it lifted.

A ball lifted under this Rule must be replaced (see Rule 20-3). The ball must not be cleaned, unless it lies on the putting green (see Rule 21).

In stroke play, a player required to lift his ball may play first rather than lift the ball.

Note 1: Except on the putting green, a player may not lift his ball solely because he considers that it might interfere with the play of another player. If a player lifts his ball without being asked to do so, he incurs a penalty of one stroke for a breach of Rule 18-2a, but there is no additional penalty under Rule 22.

Note 2: When another ball is in motion, a ball that might influence the movement of the ball in motion must not be lifted.

PENALTY FOR BREACH OF RULE:
Match play – Loss of hole; Stroke play – Two strokes.

©USGA, used with permission