Question: Can a player lift her ball anywhere on the course to identify it?
Answer: There is a one-stroke penalty for moving a ball at rest without announcing and marking it, no matter where on the hole it is. Rule 18-2b states: "If the player, [her] partner or either of their caddies lifts or moves [the ball], touches it purposely (except with a club in the act of addressing it) or causes it to move except as permissed by a Rule; or equipment of the player or [her] partner causes the ball to move, the player incurs a penalty of one stroke." That goes for the fairway, the rough and the putting green. Telling your playing partners, "Let me just check to see if this one is mine," won't let you dodge a penalty. Stick a tee in the ground next to the ball, life the ball and identify it as yours, then place it back in its original position.
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