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Under Rule 14.3, when taking relief, the player will always be allowed the choice of substituting a ball or using the original ball, including:

When taking penalty relief as well as when taking free relief (Rules 15-19), and,

Any other time the player is required to drop and play a ball, such as when returning to play from where a previous stroke was made after the stroke is cancelled.

Reasons for change

The requirement to use the original ball in some relief situations but not others is confusing, hard to remember and leads to unnecessary penalties. Taking a consistent approach that always allows a player the choice of substituting a ball or using the original ball is much simpler.

This change will eliminate the need when taking free relief to decide whether the original ball is “not immediately recoverable”, which can raise questions in various cases such as when the ball is in a few inches of temporary water or is under a prickly bush.

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