What Is an Altered Lie in Golf?

In golf, an “altered lie” refers to a situation where the position or condition of a golfer’s ball on the course has been changed, either accidentally or intentionally, from its original state. Understanding altered lies is crucial for golfers as they can affect the outcome of a shot and require adherence to specific rules.

Altered lies can occur due to various reasons:

Accidental Alterations: Unintentional changes to a ball’s lie can happen when other players or objects on the course inadvertently move or displace it. In such cases, golf rules may permit the golfer to replace the ball to its original position.

Intentional Alterations: A golfer may deliberately alter their ball’s lie to improve their shot or avoid an obstacle. This is considered a breach of the rules and can result in penalties or disqualification if discovered.

Bunker Raking: Golfers are often required to rake bunkers (sand traps) after playing a shot. Failing to do so can result in altered lies for subsequent players, and it’s considered good etiquette to leave bunkers in their original condition.

Repairing Ball Marks: Golfers should repair any ball marks or divots they create on the putting green to prevent altered lies for others putting on the same surface.

Understanding how to handle altered lies and knowing the rules that apply is essential to maintaining fair play and integrity in golf. Golfers are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the rules and etiquette related to altered lies to ensure a smooth and respectful golfing experience for all participants.

In summary, an altered lie in golf refers to a change in the position or condition of a golf ball on the course, which can occur accidentally or intentionally. Golfers must be aware of the rules and etiquette surrounding altered lies to maintain fairness and integrity during a round of golf.


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