We have a long par 5 at my muni. After the t shot, it's a blind shot to the green because of a hill. In order to get a good idea of where the green is, I drove up to the top of the hill and dropped my hat off which will be my targert when I hit my second shot. My partner said no way can you do that. Can you mark where you want to hit the ball on the top of the hill? I said to him since it was early morning with lots of dew, I could have used the tires tarcks of the cart as a mark. Who is right?
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8-2. Indicating Line Of Play
a. Other Than on Putting Green
Except on the putting green, a player may have the line of play indicated to him by anyone, but no one may be positioned by the player on or close to the line or an extension of the line beyond the hole while the stroke is being made. Any mark placed by the player or with his knowledge to indicate the line must be removed before the stroke is made.
b. On the Putting Green
When the player’s ball is on the putting green, the player, his partner or either of their caddies may, before but not during the stroke, point out a line for putting, but in so doing the putting green must not be touched. A mark must not be placed anywhere to indicate a line for putting.
If you left tire tracks in the dew without ever intending to mark your line of play, and then realized after you drove back to where you were going to play your shot that the tire tracks were a good indicator; then, you could use the tracks as an indicator without penalty.
If however, you deliberately drove up and made the tire tracks in the dew for the purpose of indicating a line of play, it would be the same as dropping your hat in that spot and you would be penalized.
However- if the landing area is someplace where the group in front might be, then yes, take a peek to make sure you don't kill anyone. And then ask that the owners put in a bell or something to let the group behind know it's "all clear".