Accidentally Knocking your Ball off the Tee

Accidentally Knocking Your Ball off the Tee

Most of us have accidentally knocked our ball off the tee when setting up for our drive.

Then, there’s always somebody in your group who shouts’, “One”.

 But is it actually a stroke? Does it count? NO!

Rule 6.1a tells us that we start a hole by making a stroke and a stroke, by definition, is the forward movement of the club with the intent to hit the ball. Knocking the ball off the tee by accident is not an intent to hit the ball, so it doesn’t count as a stroke. You can put the ball back on the tee and hit away with no penalty.

The teeing area is a special part of the golf course. The teeing area is a rectangle with the corners being the front edges of the tee markers and two club lengths backwards.

You can alter the surface, move bend or break grass, remove dew or press down grass or dirt within the teeing area before you start the hole.

If you make a stroke with the intention of hitting your ball, then that stroke counts even if you barely make contact with your ball or even whiff it (air-shot).

If your ball moves outside the teeing area you must play your ball as it lies.

However, should you barely make contact with your ball or even whiff it (air-shot) and your ball stays within the teeing area you have many more options than you had before the 2019 rules changes.

  1. You can play your ball as it lies, pick it up and move it anywhere within that teeing area with no penalty to make your next stroke. (Rule 9.4b).
  2. You can even tee it up again or substitute a new ball!

The new rules have made the teeing area a free for all in many respects and knowing this rule can be used to your advantage.

But when is your ball in the Teeing Area?

Your ball is in the teeing area when any part of your ball touches or is above any part of the teeing area.

See the diagram below:

Image detailing when a ball is in the teeing area
WHEN BALL IS IN TEEING AREA The dotted line defines the outside edges of the teeing area (see Definition of Teeing Area). A ball is in the teeing area when any part of the ball touches or is above part of the teeing area.