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Can I Walk Down My Intended Putting Line?


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I have found I can walk down my putt line and let gravity pull me to get a sense for how my putt will break. I find it helps a lot, especially for lung putts with big breaks. Is this cheating?

The rule change in 2019 allows you to touch the line if your putt, so I think I'm OK, but I'd appreciate confirmation.

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  • iacas changed the title to Can I Walk Down My Intended Putting Line?

It would be better if you walked on the low side of your putt or straddled your intended line.    

Explanation for Rule Change for 2019

Touching Line of Play on Putting Green

Current Rule: Under Rule 16-1a, when a player’s ball is on the putting green:

  • The player is generally prohibited from touching his or her line of putt.
  • But there are seven exceptions (such as when removing loose impediments or movable obstructions, when lifting or replacing a ball, when repairing ball marks, etc.).

2019 Rule: The prohibition of touching the line of play on the putting green will be eliminated:

  • There will no longer be a penalty for merely touching the line of play on the putting green (the term “line of play” will apply everywhere on the course including the putting green, and the term “line of putt” will no longer be used).
  • But the player will still be subject to the prohibition on improving his or her line of play on the putting green (see Rule 8.1a, as limited by 8.1b).

Reasons for Change:

  • No advantage is gained if a player or his or her caddie merely touches the surface of the putting green on the line where the ball will be played.
  • Over time, the prohibition on touching the line of putt has become subject to many exceptions:
    • Current Rule 16-1a lists seven different situations in which a player is allowed to touch the line of putt.
    • The Decisions recognize additional exceptions, such as that there is no penalty if a player accidentally walks on the line of putt.
  • The current prohibition is difficult to administer and penalties are not often applied; and those penalties that are applied may be perceived as serving little or no purpose, such as when a caddie accidentally touches the line of putt with the flagstick.
  • The change that will allow a player to repair almost all damage on the putting green (see also Explanation for Proposed Rule Change - Repairing Damage on Putting Green) is a further reason why the prohibition on merely touching the line of putt is no longer needed.
  • Eliminating the prohibition on touching the line of putt will also be consistent with the related change in new Rule 10.2b(2), which will eliminate current Rule 8.2b’s prohibition on merely touching the putting green when pointing out the line of play for a ball on the green.
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19 minutes ago, dennyjones said:

It would be better if you walked on the low side of your putt or straddled your intended line.

That's not necessary. People aren't going to suggest you're improving your line by walking on it.

Now, if you're wearing spikes and/or the green is soft, you'd be smart not to damage your own line, but beyond that… you can touch and walk on the line of your putt. It's perfectly legal.

AimPoint students rejoice!

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