Changing my Ball
Question: - I notice that the professionals are not allowed to change the type of ball during a tournament. Does this apply to our Club Competitions?
Answer: - No. There is nothing in the Rules of Golf that prevents a golfer from switching to a different brand of golf ball on every hole on the course.
The Rules of Golf do allow a Competitions or Tournament Committee to impose such a rule under the “Conditions of the Competition”. (R&A Rules Appendix 1 Part C-b.) This rule has not been imposed at Newark Golf Club.
If a ball is unfit for play it can be changed at any time. To be unfit for play it must be visibly cut, cracked or out of shape. A ball is not unfit for play solely because it is scratched, scraped or the paint is damaged or discoloured. (R&A Rule 5.3)
If you believe that your ball is damaged you must announce your intention to mark and lift the ball. You may examine the ball but not clean it. ( This may make it difficult to determine if the ball is damaged but you are not permitted to clean it under this rule). You must also give your fellow competitor or opponent the opportunity to observe you lifting it and an opportunity for them to examine the ball.
If the ball is unfit for play the player may substitute it for another ball and place it in the spot. The rule does not state that it must be the same type of ball.
If you are unfortunate enough to have a ball break into pieces when you hit it the stoke is cancelled and you must play another ball, as near as possible, the spot from which the original ball was played.