I was asked about a situation which arose in a friend’s foursome. The course they were playing has a green with somewhat of a steep slope on one area of the green. When the hole location is placed near the slope, it is difficult to get the ball to stay on its location once marked and replaced.
The player’s original ball position was about three feet above the hole on the steep slope. After replacing his ball, which stayed in place, the player did not remove his mark. As he walked around to read the putt, the ball began to roll down the slope and went into the hole. The competitors claimed he needed to replace the ball where he had marked it. What is the ruling?
Since the ball when replaced was at rest and the player did not cause the ball to move, he is deemed to have holed out with his previous stroke.
Two things to note in this situation: If the original location of the ball was below the hole and after taking the same actions, the ball rolled away from the hole and off the green, he must play it from its new location.
Also note: The question is always raised about his mark still in place when the ball began to roll. Once the ball had been placed back to its original position and was at rest, the ball is then in play and the mark is no longer relevant.