Marking your golf ball

Marking your golf ball

Etiquette for marking your ball.

It is important to keep your etiquette on and around the putting greens in tip top shape. Learn the correct procedure for marking your golf ball and keep your game respectable and smooth

Ball Markers

  • USGA rule 14 defines a ‘’ball marker’’ as an artificial object, not a leaf, twig or pebble or other natural occurring items. Coins, tees, objects made to be a ball- markers or another piece of equipment worn, carried, or held by the player or player’s caddie can be used.  Players have been known to use beer cans, water bottles, pipes, and other outlandish items. Using a beer can as a marker can be off-putting to your playing partners and would not be considered the correct etiquette on the green.

Marking your ball

  • You can mark your golf ball anywhere around the ball. You should be consistent in marking the ball in the same place throughout the game. Additionally, it is required that one marks their ball in a way that allows you to replace your ball accurately to its previous position.
  • You can mark the ball yourself or you may allow someone else to do it. Note however, authorization must be given every time another player marks the ball.
  • The player’s caddie is allowed to mark and lift the player’s ball on the putting green without needing authorization.

The caddie continues to be allowed to replace the player’s ball only if the caddie was the one who had lifted or moved the ball.

Repositioning your ball marker

  • If your ball marker is in your playing partners line and he requests you to move it, you should pick up the marker and move it one club heads length to the left or right of the marked position. After your playing partner has hit his putt, you must replace your marker in its original position. If you go ahead and hit your putt without returning the marker to its original position then you will incur a two stroke penalty.

Further rules

  • If a marker is hit and the ball is deflected, then the player must play the ball from the place where the ball comes to rest.

Incurring Penalties

  • A player can mark, lift, and clean his ball on the green. It is a violation to do so however, when another ball is in motion.
  • If a player lifts the ball without marking its spot, or, marks the spot incorrectly, or, if a player makes a stroke with a ball-marker left in place, the player shall incur a one stroke penalty.
  • If the player accidently kicks the ball before marking it, or, the player drops his marker onto his ball that causes it to move prior to having marked the ball, he shall incur a one stroke penalty.

In the process of replacing his ball, the player accidentally drops his ball onto the marker which causes the marker to move, the player shall incur a one stroke penalty.

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Steve, your digital Ecaddie sharing pro golf tips, how to guides, top golf news and equipment maintenance. I'm here to help you perform better on the golf course!

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