Those pesky creatures on a golf course can cause havoc for golfers. But if you know Rule 18, 19, & 25 and the variations of them, then golf becomes a little easier. Did you know there is a rule for a dog interference!
What if there is a critter on the course and this critter starts to mess with your golf ball. Such as moves your ball, picks it up and or fly’s away with it, or chews on it. Or what if you hit a bird or duck gracefully flying by, on what would have been an amazing shot; or hit a coyote as it runs through the fairway. Better yet, have a moose lay down in the middle of the fairway and your ball rolls right up to this critter! Yes, that happened to me while playing the Evergreen Golf Course. What is the ruling?
There are several depending on the details:
Rule 18.1 - Ball at Rest moved by Outside Agency - If a ball at rest is moved by an outside agency, there is no penalty and the ball must be replaced. NOTE: YOU must know that it is your ball, the ball was at rest, and moved by an outside agency (animal). Then there is no penalty.
However (there is always a ‘however’ in golf).
Under RULE 19 - Ball in Motion Deflected or Stopped by
Now what if your ball lands in a hole created by a snake, or animal. Yes there is a rule for that as well.
RULE 25-19 - BURROWING ANIMAL, REPTILE OR BIRD (AND HOLES MADE BY THEM)
Abnormal ground conditions (casual water, ground under repair or hole, cast of runway on the course made by a burrowing animal, a reptile or a bird) occur when a ball lies in or touches the condition or when the condition interferes with the player’s stance or the area of his intended swing. If the player’s ball lies on the putting green, intervenes on his line of putt. Otherwise intervention on the line of play is not, of itself, interference under the Rule.
A "burrowing animal" is an animal (other than a worm, insect or the like) that makes a hole for habitation or shelter, such as a rabbit, mole, groundhog, gopher or salamander.
HOWEVER a hole made by a non-burrowing animal, such as a dog, is not an abnormal ground condition unless marked or declared as ground under repair.
NOTE: After doing some reading, bees, fire ants, snakes, alligators, etc. are considered dangerous and therefore the player can take a free drop. I considered the moose to be a dangerous animal and with agreement of all parties playing that day, I took a free drop!