With many clubs now implementing temporary winter rules at this time of year, it seems a good time to remind you how to exactly interpret the rule:
“A ball lying on a closely-mown area through the green may be lifted without penalty and cleaned. Before lifting the ball, the player must mark its position. Having lifted the ball, he must place it on a spot within six inches of and not nearer the hole than where it originally lay, that is not in a hazard and not on a putting green.
A player may place his ball only once, and it is in play when it has been placed (Rule 20-4). If the ball fails to come to rest on the spot on which it is placed, Rule 20-3d applies. If the ball when placed comes to rest on the spot on which it is placed and it subsequently moves, there is no penalty and the ball must be played as it lies, unless the provisions of any other Rule apply.
Penalty for breach of Local Rule:
Match play – loss of hole;
Stroke play – Two strokes.
If the player fails to mark the position of the ball before lifting it or moves the ball in any other manner, such as rolling it with the club, he incurs a penalty of one stroke.”