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Is This Legal - Marking Ball with Toe of Putter?


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There's a gentleman I sometimes play with, he's a good guy and I enjoy playing with him. He does this one thing on the green all the time, even in tournaments and I'm not completely sure it's legal. 

When he's on the green, he is one of those guys that likes to line up his ball to the target by using the line on the ball. Before nearly every putt he picks up his ball, wipes it off a bit and then replaces it with the line pointed at his target. While he's doing all of that he marks his ball location with the toe of his putter. He never lets go of his putter. He hangs onto the grip and keeps the spot marked with the toe. 

I'm pretty sure he's not gaining any advantage as he seems to keep the toe of the putter still and seems to put the ball back pretty much exactly where it way. But my question is: 
Is this legal? 

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I do this all the time and sometimes get funny looks.  Never looked it up to see if it was legal... just knew that it was an easy way of precisely marking your ball without fishing through a pocket fo

Oh sure, Dave. That's true. In this case it's not a problem, per say. As I've played with this guy literally for years. I never really thought about it much. For some reason it jumped into my hea

No problem.  You might think about getting the USGA Rules app for your phone, its actually a lot easier to use than the old Rulebook.  In addition, all of the Interpretations (used to be Decisions) ar

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a. Spot of Ball to Be Lifted and Replaced Must Be Marked

Before lifting a ball under a Rule requiring the ball to be replaced on its original spot, the player must mark the spot which means to:

  • Place a ball-marker right behind or right next to the ball, or

  • Hold a club on the ground right behind or right next to the ball.

If the spot is marked with a ball-marker, after replacing the ball the player must remove the ball-marker before making a stroke.

If the player lifts the ball without marking its spot, marks its spot in a wrong way or makes a stroke with a ball-marker left in place, the player gets one penalty stroke.

If multiple Rule breaches result from a single act or related acts, see Rule 1.3c(4).

When a ball is lifted to take relief under a Rule, the player is not required to mark the spot before lifting the ball.

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14.1  Marking, Lifting and Cleaning Ball

a. Spot of Ball to Be Lifted and Replaced Must Be Marked

Before lifting your ball under a Rule requiring it to be replaced on its original spot, you must mark the spot, which means to:

  • Place a ball-marker right behind or right next to your ball, or

  • Hold a club on the ground right behind or right next to your ball.

 

@saevel25 beat me to it, but yes it's legal.

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  • iacas changed the title to Is This Legal - Marking Ball with Toe of Putter?
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41 minutes ago, ChetlovesMer said:

Thanks guys. 
I knew I'd get good info here. 

@ChetlovesMer its not that anyone doesn't want to help with these kinds of things, but its really a good idea for YOU to learn to research these kinds of things yourself.  There's no better way to remember something than to have looked it up for yourself.   And once you know how to find things in the Rules, you'll be able to answer these kinds of problems while you're still on the course.

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I do this all the time and sometimes get funny looks.  Never looked it up to see if it was legal... just knew that it was an easy way of precisely marking your ball without fishing through a pocket for a coin.  Knocks about 2 minutes off my 3 hour round.

On the other hand, if you clandestinely turn the putter and slide it forward you can get an extra 6 inches toward the hole, thus improving your strokes gained on the green.  But those become strokes lost when applying for entrance through the Gates of Heaven.  You could even get rerouted/detoured elsewhere.

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10 minutes ago, DaveP043 said:

@ChetlovesMer its not that anyone doesn't want to help with these kinds of things, but its really a good idea for YOU to learn to research these kinds of things yourself.  There's no better way to remember something than to have looked it up for yourself.   And once you know how to find things in the Rules, you'll be able to answer these kinds of problems while you're still on the course.

Oh sure, Dave. That's true.

In this case it's not a problem, per say. As I've played with this guy literally for years. I never really thought about it much. For some reason it jumped into my head as I was working on a work project. 

As of right now, I'm pretty much shut down for the year. Up until last year I kept a rule book in my golf bag. With the 2019 rules changes I tossed it out and haven't gotten around to replacing it. 

Since I was hanging out here in the Sand Trap just thinking about this, I thought I'd throw it out there.

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1 minute ago, ChetlovesMer said:

Oh sure, Dave. That's true.

In this case it's not a problem, per say. As I've played with this guy literally for years. I never really thought about it much. For some reason it jumped into my head as I was working on a work project. 

As of right now, I'm pretty much shut down for the year. Up until last year I kept a rule book in my golf bag. With the 2019 rules changes I tossed it out and haven't gotten around to replacing it. 

Since I was hanging out here in the Sand Trap just thinking about this, I thought I'd throw it out there.

No problem.  You might think about getting the USGA Rules app for your phone, its actually a lot easier to use than the old Rulebook.  In addition, all of the Interpretations (used to be Decisions) are included as well.

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21 minutes ago, DaveP043 said:

No problem.  You might think about getting the USGA Rules app for your phone, its actually a lot easier to use than the old Rulebook.  In addition, all of the Interpretations (used to be Decisions) are included as well.

Being an older player, putting a USGA rule book on my phone never occurred to me. I just don't think that way. 

Good suggestion, though, so I will look at Amazon after nap and put the rule book on my phone. 

Thanks, 

Retired Old Man 

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8 minutes ago, RetiredOldMan said:

Being an older player, putting a USGA rule book on my phone never occurred to me. I just don't think that way. 

Good suggestion, though, so I will look at Amazon after nap and put the rule book on my phone. 

Thanks, 

Retired Old Man 

Here are the direct links for both Apple and Android:

https://www.usga.org/content/usga/home-page/rules-hub/rules-of-golf-apps.html

One tip, go to the Settings menu and enable Expert Mode.  This will enable you to see the Full Rules and the Interpretations.  Without Expert Mode you will only be able to see the Player's Addition, and I don't find that is detailed enough.  

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2 hours ago, DaveP043 said:

Here are the direct links for both Apple and Android:

https://www.usga.org/content/usga/home-page/rules-hub/rules-of-golf-apps.html

One tip, go to the Settings menu and enable Expert Mode.  This will enable you to see the Full Rules and the Interpretations.  Without Expert Mode you will only be able to see the Player's Addition, and I don't find that is detailed enough.  

Thank you for the Hyperlink.

I will go sit in the recliner tonight and do some reading. 

Retired Old Man

 

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2 hours ago, RetiredOldMan said:

Thank you for the Hyperlink.

I will go sit in the recliner tonight and do some reading. 

Retired Old Man

 

ROM... you are cracking me up!  If you have an Android phone just go to the Playstore and download it for free... no need to bring Amazon into this.  Hoping you had a good nap.  You don't have an original RAZR flip phone, I hope.

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I have used a putter for a ball mark. I have also used it as a measuring guide to move my marker, off to the side, out of another golfer's putting line. 

I have also used little stones, broken tees, bottle cap, and even my divot tool. 

The only "iffy" thing I ever saw was on a dew covered green. The guy used the left over ball trail as his mark. He replaced ball where the trail ended

My marker of choice is high dollar poker chip from a casino that closed down several decades ago.  

 

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3 minutes ago, Patch said:

I have used a putter for a ball mark. I have also used it as a measuring guide to move my marker, off to the side, out of another golfer's putting line. 

I have also used little stones, broken tees, bottle cap, and even my divot tool. 

The only "iffy" thing I ever saw was on a dew covered green. The guy used the left over ball trail as his mark. He replaced ball where the trail ended

My marker of choice is high dollar poker chip from a casino that closed down several decades ago.  

The rules allow the location of the ball to be marked using a "ball marker", or by setting a club next to or behind the ball.  Interestingly, the definition of "ball marker" requires it to be something artificial, so by strict interpretation a small stone or a seashell wouldn't be acceptable.  Similarly, making a mark on the grass, or using the trail in the dew wouldn't be acceptable. As far as I can tell looking at last year's rules, this definition of "ball marker" is new.  Check Rule 20-1 here:

There's a recommendation that a coil or similar object be used, but no specific requirement other than that the position must be marked.

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On 10/21/2019 at 6:53 PM, Double Mocha Man said:

ROM... you are cracking me up!  If you have an Android phone just go to the Playstore and download it for free... no need to bring Amazon into this.  Hoping you had a good nap.  You don't have an original RAZR flip phone, I hope.

No, I just stated it wrong. Went to the App store and downloaded it on my IPAD because of the larger screen. (For Free) 

And, No, I have an IPHONE 7+. 

I am old, but I am tech savy. 

I use quite a lot of IPAD's and IPhone and a very sophisticated GPS when flying the airplane.  

Retired Old Man

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I use the putter to mark more often than I use a ball marker as long as it doesn't interfere with anyone else. I don't line up anything so it's just to pick up the ball and see if it has anything stuck to it that might affect the putt. Wipe it with the hands.

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