Ball in play
A ball is ~in play~ as soon as the player has made a stroke on the teeing ground. It remains in play until it is holed, except when it is lost, out of bounds or lifted, or another ball has been substituted whether
Playing the ball
If you think a ball is yours but cannot see your identification mark, with the permission of your marker or opponent, you may mark and lift the ball to identify it. Play the ball as it lies. Don't improve your lie, the area of your intended stance or swing, or your line of play by moving, bending or breaking anything fixed or growing, except in fairly taking your stance or making your swing. Don't improve your lie by pressing anything down.
If your ball is in a bunker or a water hazard, don't touch the ground in either type of hazard, or touch water in the water hazard, with your hand or club before your downswing and don't move loose impediments.
You must swing the club and make a stroke at the ball. It is not permissible to push, scrape or spoon the ball. If you play a wrong ball, in match play you lose the hole; in stroke play you incur a two-stroke penalty and you must then correct the mistake by playing the correct ball.
Ball to be fairly struck at:
The ball must be fairly struck at with the head of the club and must not be pushed, scraped or spooned.
Relief situations and procedures
When playing golf, you must play the ball as it lies, whether your ball is in a good lie or a bad lie, unless the Rules allow you to do otherwise. For example, the Rules allow you to move natural objects like leaves and twigs, the rules call these loose impediments. The rules also permit you to lift and move your ball if you have interference from certain conditions. Sometimes you can move your ball without penalty, e.g. when you have interference due to a man-made object called obstructions, such as a road or path, or an abnormal ground condition, such as casual water and ground under repair. At other times, you may incur a penalty if you wish to move your ball, e.g. when your ball is in a water hazard.
The player may deem his ball unplayable at any place on the course, except when the ball is in a water hazard. The player is the sole judge as to whether his ball is unplayable. If the player deems his ball to be unplayable, he must under penalty of one stroke:
a. Play a ball as nearly as possible at the spot from which the original ball was last played; or
b. Drop a ball behind the point where the ball lay, keeping that point directly between the hole and the spot on which the ball is dropped, with no limit to how far behind that point the ball may be dropped; or
c. Drop a ball within two club-lengths of the spot where the ball lay, but not nearer the hole