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iacas

Is This Ball Marker Going Too Far?

Mechanical Ball Markers  

31 members have voted

  1. 1. Should "mechanical ball markers" such as the Trident be legal?

    • Yes
      15
    • No
      16


39 posts / 2715 viewsLast Reply

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Trident-Align-Set-2.jpg

This Next Generation Ball Marker Features An Adjustable Top Plate That Helps You Find Your Ideal Aim Line Without The Ball Being In Position On The Green.

Basically, it's a ball marker which you can rotate the top without moving the base (these videos are queued up to where you can see this action in the first few seconds; you don't have to watch the whole video):


To this point, I've never really cared much for the line on a ball, and the line on a ball marker has been fine, too. Even before people thought to use actual lines, I'd sometimes line the word "Titleist" up toward the hole.

Every ball has a logo, a line, or even a series of dimples that would form a line. So adding a line on your ball marker and ball and lining them up, except for being slow, struck me as "fine." I've never really liked how long some people will take lining up a line or a thing, but they could have done that before, again, using the logo or whatever else was already on the ball, even if they didn't draw a line on it.


As for the Rules, these are currently legal.

The Rules define a ball marker as:

Quote

An artificial object when used to mark the spot of a ball to be lifted, such as a tee, a coin, an object made to be a ball-marker or another small piece of equipment.

When a Rule refers to a ball-marker being moved, this means a ball-marker in place on the course to mark the spot of a ball that has been lifted and not yet replaced.

It does that. And, because it has the "cupped" or concave part to it, the ball should be placed back in the same spot, within the acceptable margins. There aren't any real points in Rule 14 (Procedures for Ball: Marking, Lifting and Cleaning; Replacing on Spot; …) that apply here. They simply say to place a ball-marker or club beside the ball to mark its location…

10.2b says:

Quote

(2) Pointing Out Line of Play for Ball on Putting Green. Before the stroke is made, only the player and his or her caddie may point out the player’s line of play, but with these limitations:

  • The player or caddie may touch the putting green with a hand, foot or anything he or she is holding, butmust not improve the conditions affecting the stroke in breach of Rule 8.1a, and
  • The player or caddie must not set an object down anywhere on or off the putting green to show the line of play. This is not allowed even if that object is removed before the stroke is made.

While the stroke is being made, the caddie must not deliberately stand in a location on or close to the player’s line of play or do anything else (such as pointing out a spot on the putting green) to point out the line of play.

Exception – Caddie Attending Flagstick: The caddie may stand in a location on or close to the player's line of play to attend the flagstick.

You might think the red (highlighting my own work) text makes such a thing illegal, but ball-markers are basically excluded from this. The red text is talking about something else, like a water bottle placed on the line, or a caddie intentionally laying the bag down for the player to aim at.

There are no real relevant interpretations under 10.2b.

Finally, we can look at rule 4, Equipment. 4.1 is for clubs, 4.2 is for balls. 4.3 covers the "use of equipment" and one could almost make a case here:

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a. Allowed and Prohibited Uses of Equipment

A player may use equipment to help his or her play during a round, except that a player must not create a potential advantage by:

  • Using equipment (other than a club or a ball) that artificially eliminates or reduces the need for a skill or judgment that is essential to the challenge of the game, or

The problem? What I'll call "static" alignment ball markers have been legal for decades. But maybe the second bullet point matters?:

Quote
  • Using equipment (including a club or a ball) in an abnormal way in making a stroke. “Abnormal way” means a way that is fundamentally different than its intended use and is not normally recognized as part of playing the game.

The thing is, you don't use this equipment in making a stroke, and the text immediately after that bullet point says:

Quote

This Rule does not affect the application of any other Rule that limits actions a player is allowed to take with a club, ball or other equipment (such as setting down a club or other object to help the player in lining up, see Rule 10.2b(3)).

So, nothing there helps out. What about this?
 

Quote

(1) Distance and Directional Information.

  • Allowed. Getting information on distance or direction (such as from a distance-measuring device or compass).
  • Not Allowed.
    • Measuring elevation changes, or
    • Interpreting distance or directional information (such as using a device to get a recommended line of play or club selection based on the location of the player’s ball).

Bingo? No. Again, if ball markers with lines on it are legal, then so is this, as you could always replace your ball and move the ball marker to your line, and then re-adjust the ball to match the line. In that sense this Trident thing might be fractionally faster.


So, the mechanical ball marker is currently legal. What change would I make? It's simple: I'd require that all ball markers be non-mechanical. Just a solid piece of something (it could be multi-material, but by "solid" I mean not having moving parts or parts that move relative to each other).

Is this a big deal? No. I don't even think I've ever seen anyone become a better putter by using any of these things anyway.

But this feels like it's going a bit too far. I am aware as anyone about the dangers of "feels like" when discussing the Rules. But, by changing the definition of "ball-marker," we could head this off pretty quickly.

What do you think? A bit too much or "who the heck cares?"

P.S. I'm voting "No" they should not be legal in the poll, but it's not like I care too much. Maybe 60/40. 2/1 at most.

Edited by iacas
Fixed an "il"legal that should have been "legal"

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It’s a bit much. If you need that much alignment you got some issues on the greens. 

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Voted no for PoP reasons. This, the Triple Track system, all of it, just ways to slow the game down more.

Side note: For the first 20 or so triple track balls I found, I thought that they were very wayward range balls. I couldn't believe that they were real and legal when I found out that this wasn't the case. After looking them up, I realized that most golfers don't like them because for every shot that isn't on the green or tee, they can mess with your alignment since you can't change it.

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I don’t use a line and usually will place the ball down with no markings showing. I have a Sand Trap ball marker, but don’t use the line on that either. I voted no but as long as they don’t take Bryson DeChambeau amounts of time to line the ball up, I don’t really care. The pros who use a line seem to take too much time IMO.

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2 hours ago, iacas said:
 

As for the Rules, these are currently legal.


So, the mechanical ball marker is illegal.

Wait, so just a typo?

 

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It’s a no for me. 

4 hours ago, iacas said:

It's simple: I'd require that all ball markers be non-mechanical. Just a solid piece of something (it could be multi-material, but by "solid" I mean not having moving parts or parts that move relative to each other).

For this reason. 

I also see this slowing play and not helping much. It’s another “magic solution”. That is not rules based of course. 

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it’s certainly not for me.  I prefer to pick a spot 12-24” in front of the ball as my aim point. PoP considerations are another. 

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Very nice original post, excellent discussion of the issues.

For me, should be banned, consigned to the novelty bin. Make then static/fixed item only. IMO, not a positive contribution to the game, diminishes the role of the human skill (bad thing) and encourages even more time wasting on the greens (even worse thing).

Next step for me is 1) ban ANY lines on ball markers and, even better...

2) ban caddies - game should be solely about the skill of the golfer during the play of a round.

Just getting warmed up.....

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3 hours ago, fredf said:

Very nice original post, excellent discussion of the issues.

For me, should be banned, consigned to the novelty bin. Make then static/fixed item only. IMO, not a positive contribution to the game, diminishes the role of the human skill (bad thing) and encourages even more time wasting on the greens (even worse thing).

Retweet that if you'd like.

3 hours ago, fredf said:

Next step for me is 1) ban ANY lines on ball markers and, even better...

Can't easily happen. Some coins have lines on them, etc. But not the topic so… start a different topic with your rules takes if you want. Or, better yet, contribute to one that already exists.

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Being mechanical is a bit too much on the green to me. 

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I don't think they should be illegal. Having said that. It does feel like a bit much to me. I'm not completely convinced it will actually help you make more putts.

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I have never believed a line on the ball made any difference. It's the line your clubhead takes that matters.

I voted no but like Erik, I'm not really fussed.

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I actually voted yes. More accurately, I don’t see any reason to vote no.

It’s a silly novelty, and all it does is align a line that is drawn on the ball with the intended line of putt.  I doubt that it does a better job than doing so without the gadget.

Regardless, I doubt that it’ll last.

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31 minutes ago, David in FL said:

I actually voted yes. More accurately, I don’t see any reason to vote no.

It’s a silly novelty, and all it does is align a line that is drawn on the ball with the intended line of putt.  I doubt that it does a better job than doing so without the gadget.

Regardless, I doubt that it’ll last.

It should be illegal to spend that much time putting a mark on your ball. What did you do today, honey. I marked a dozen golf balls, dear. I’m exhausted. 😝

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2 hours ago, CarlSpackler said:

It should be illegal to spend that much time putting a mark on your ball. What did you do today, honey. I marked a dozen golf balls, dear. I’m exhausted. 😝

Hell, half of my golf buddies can’t be bothered to put a dot on their ball so it can be identified!

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