What Happens If a Golf Ball Hits Another Into the Hole? [Latest Rules]

what happens if a golf ball hits another into the hole

Golf is a strategic game that requires patience, focus, and precision. As a golf enthusiast, I have experienced a lot of unpredictable situations, but nothing quite compares to what happened during one game. My friend’s ball was on the last hole, only a putt away from winning the game, when I accidentally hit my ball, causing it to hit his ball into the hole. We were both shocked and unsure of what would happen next. It made me wonder, “What Happens If a Golf Ball Hits Another Into the Hole?” 

This scenario is rare but possible, especially when hitting another ball on the green. In this blog, we will discuss the rules, penalties, and actions to take when this occurs. So, grab your clubs, and let’s dive into the world of golf.

What Happens If a Golf Ball Hits Another Into the Hole?

This scenario can occur when two players’ golf balls collide on the green or when a ball in motion collides with a stationary golf ball. To provide a more comprehensive answer, I have broken down the rules for each instance below along with some personal experiences.

When Both Golf Balls Are on the Green

This scenario occurs when both golf balls are already on the green, and a player accidentally hits the ball of another player while putting. Is there a penalty for hitting another golf ball on the green? The simple answer is Yes. As per golf rules, a player will receive a 2-stroke penalty if he hits another ball during play on the putting green. However, the player whose ball was at rest when struck will not receive a penalty.

a close up of a golf ball on the greens

I recall one instance when I was playing a match, and as I hit the ball with full swing, my ball accidentally hit my opponent’s ball, causing it to roll into the hole. Although my opponent was happy with the outcome, it was not my intention to hit his ball. I absorbed the penalty, and we continued with play.

When Neither or One Ball Is on the Green

This scenario occurs when a golf ball collides with another ball that is stationary while shot from the tee or approach. In this scenario, there is no penalty for hitting someone else’s golf ball on the green or any other part of the course. The golfers involved in such collisions of the ball hitting another ball can continue playing as if nothing happened.

Golf Rule If You Hit Another Ball

What happens to the moved golf ball and the other ball influencing the movement? Rule 9.6, Ball Lifted or Moved by Outside Influence, provides an answer to this question. The rule applies if an outside influence lifts or moves a ball, which can include another golf ball in motion.

In such a scenario, the player responsible for the collision must play their ball as it lies, while the player whose ball was resting before the collision must replace their ball back to its original position. The outcome is random and unpredictable, resulting in a disadvantage for the player as often as advantages.

Golf Ball Hits Another Ball and Goes In

If a golf ball hits another ball into the hole, Rule 11.1 (a) applies. The rule states that in stroke play, there will be a two-stroke penalty if a player’s ball in motion accidentally hits another player’s ball during play on the putting green

Also, as per newly changed rules under Rule 11.1, for all deflections caused by an accidental hit, including those caused by hitting the player, opponent, equipment, or caddies:

With limited exceptions, the ball is played as it lies and no penalty is assessed.

I once saw a fellow golfer drive his golf ball and make a hole-in-one, but it was achieved by hitting another ball already on the green. According to the rules, he was penalized, but the hole-in-one remained impressive nonetheless.


Knowing the rules from golf ball rollback to provisional rules is vital, and understanding what happens when one golf ball hits another into the hole is essential for fair play. Remember, a player will receive a 2-stroke penalty if they hit another ball while playing on the putting green, while no penalty will be given if a ball hits another stationary ball on the course.

I hope this blog on “what happens if a golf ball hits another into the hole” has provided a more in-depth understanding of the different scenarios that can occur during a game of golf. By following these guidelines, you can play golf with greater confidence, knowing that you are playing within the bounds of the sport’s etiquette and rules. 

For more such info., bookmark GolfAceNation. Happy Golfing!!

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. What happens if a golf ball hits another on the fairway?

The 9.6 rule states that if your ball happens to hit another player’s stationary ball on the fairway, you simply play yours wherever it comes to rest. Meanwhile, the other player would pick up their ball and place it back to the spot where they believed it was.

Q2. Is it a hole in one if another ball knocks it in?

According to professional golf rules, the shot that hits the other ball is considered a hole-in-one. Although some people may not consider it a true shot, it still counts as a perfect stroke. The ball that is knocked in by another ball is replaced on the green, and the game goes on. 

Q3. What is it called when you hit a golf ball in the hole?

It’s called an ace and every golfer’s dream shot. An ace is achieved when a player hits the ball directly from the tee into the hole with one stroke. It’s an incredibly rare occurrence that requires both skill and a bit of luck.

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