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Hitting a ball off the wrong green?


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Although I've never had this situation happen, I could see it happening on the course I play at. The situation is you hit a ball way of course and that ball comes to rest on a green other than the one you are going towards.

Are you allowed to take a full swing at the ball on the green or can you take a drop like when a ball comes to rest on a cart path? Any specific golf rule apply to something like this?

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25-3. Wrong Putting Green

a. Interference

Interference by a wrong putting green occurs when a ball is on the wrong putting green.

Interference to a player's stance or the area of his intended swing is not, of itself, interference under this Rule.

b. Relief

If a player's ball lies on a wrong putting green, he must not play the ball as it lies. He must take relief, without penalty, as follows:

The player must lift the ball and drop it within one club-length of and not nearer the hole than the nearest point of relief. The nearest point of relief must not be in a hazard or on a putting green. When dropping the ball within one club-length of the nearest point of relief, the ball must first strike a part of the course at a spot that avoids interference by the wrong putting green and is not in a hazard and not on a putting green. The ball may be cleaned when lifted under this Rule.

Penalty for Breach of Rule:

Match play - Loss of hole; Stroke play - Two strokes.

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Being a greenskeeper for 6 years I have to say. If I saw you take a full swing at a ball on one of my greens I woulda run over and punched you in the mouth.

(Not you but you know what  I mean)

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Originally Posted by BostonSully

Being a greenskeeper for 6 years I have to say. If I saw you take a full swing at a ball on one of my greens I woulda run over and punched you in the mouth.

(Not you but you know what  I mean)


I think there was a tourney where they had this island in the middle of one of the greens.  PM left his shot on the lower part of the green and he had no direct putting line to the flag.  So, he pulls a wedge and pitches/flops it over the island towards the hole.  I could see you now (if you were the greenskeeper) giving PM a knuckle sandwich and then saying, "Don't ever do that on my greens again...BTW, can you sign this for my kids?"

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Originally Posted by Tomboys

I think there was a tourney where they had this island in the middle of one of the greens.  PM left his shot on the lower part of the green and he had no direct putting line to the flag.  So, he pulls a wedge and pitches/flops it over the island towards the hole.  I could see you now (if you were the greenskeeper) giving PM a knuckle sandwich and then saying, "Don't ever do that on my greens again...BTW, can you sign this for my kids?"

6th hole at Riviera, a Par 3.     I've seen a few pros pull out the lob wedge on the green there when they find themselves on the wrong side of that bunker, and cringe every time - it seems like sacrilege to desecrate such hallowed ground.

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I had this occur last week. I had to ask the guy I was playing with what the rule was and he said you never hit off the green. I placed the ball laterally(not closer to the hole) from the green a club length and hit my 2nd shot.

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You are never allowed to hit from a wrong putting green, ever.

But there is nothing in the rules which forbids chipping or pitching on the putting green of the hole you are playing.  It isn't common practice because, as BostonSully pointed out, greenskeepers can become justifiably violent over unwarranted damage to their beautiful greens.  If I'm ever in a situation where it is not possible to putt the ball from where it lies to the place where the hole is cut, I would think long and hard before I risked even taking a small divot from the putting surface.  I have too much respect for the course and for the people who work hard to keep it in prime condition.

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Originally Posted by golf4fun12

you can chip on your own green, correct? phil mickelson did it a while ago


Yes, you can.  In a high-stakes tournament, it's justified if it's the right shot.  In a normal tournament, it might be ok.  For you or me on Sunday?  Putt around the trouble and take the extra stroke to get there, it's not worth screwing up the green over one stroke.

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Originally Posted by zeg

Yes, you can.  In a high-stakes tournament, it's justified if it's the right shot.  In a normal tournament, it might be ok.  For you or me on Sunday?  Putt around the trouble and take the extra stroke to get there, it's not worth screwing up the green over one stroke.


haha. yeah, true. don't want to piss off the groundskeeper

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When you make a green like the one at Riviera, you have to expect players chipping on the green.

Originally Posted by Fourputt

You are never allowed to hit from a wrong putting green, ever.

But there is nothing in the rules which forbids chipping or pitching on the putting green of the hole you are playing.  It isn't common practice because, as BostonSully pointed out, greenskeepers can become justifiably violent over unwarranted damage to their beautiful greens.  If I'm ever in a situation where it is not possible to putt the ball from where it lies to the place where the hole is cut, I would think long and hard before I risked even taking a small divot from the putting surface.  I have too much respect for the course and for the people who work hard to keep it in prime condition.



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I had this happen to me last saturday at crab orchard golf course in carterville.  I hit my tee shot on the par 5 9th hole and sliced it badly.  The 5th green is not that far right of this fairway, maybe 25 yards but not ob.   My ball landed on the 5th green.  I simply picked it up and dropped it on the side of the green the ball was closest too, trying not to get closer to the hole.  I think at this course this happens quite frequently because as we were approaching the 5th green earlier we had to wait for someone to hit their 2nd shot on the 9th from just off the 5th green.  I think i ended up making an 8 on the hole.

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I had a situation a few years back where I hit to the wrong pin on a "shared green".  There was no putting path to the correct flag, but I did putt (3 in fact) to preserve the green.  It was just a friendly round (read no $ involved), but had it been money I would have pitched the ball and that is within the rules, albeit tough on greens.  But apparently I'm not the only one as a couple of years ago they modified the layout so the green isn't shared anymore so you can drop off it you end up on the wrong one. But as a comment I would think if you design a green with a island or trap in the middle or shared with another hole you might expect to find a small divot in it every once once in awhile.

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Why would you have to take a divot when chipping on the green (when it's your own green, obviously)? I know that a proper chip should take a divot, but you don't have to hit the ball that far if your on the green. Just open up your club and let the bounce on it slide along the green surface. If you can pitch 40 yards without taking a divot, surely you can pitch 20 feet without taking a divot. I'm obviously not advocating that you hit a shot against your conscience that you think will damage the green, but I don't see why the option is either "divot" or "terrible putt". There should be some situations solvable by "soft pitch". [quote name="ghalfaire" url="/forum/thread/45491/hitting-a-ball-off-the-wrong-green#post_592811"]

I had a situation a few years back where I hit to the wrong pin on a "shared green".  There was no putting path to the correct flag, but I did putt (3 in fact) to preserve the green.  It was just a friendly round (read no $ involved), but had it been money I would have pitched the ball and that is within the rules, albeit tough on greens.  But apparently I'm not the only one as a couple of years ago they modified the layout so the green isn't shared anymore so you can drop off it you end up on the wrong one. But as a comment I would think if you design a green with a island or trap in the middle or shared with another hole you might expect to find a small divot in it every once once in awhile.

[/quote] One of my nearby courses has such "shared greens" and the greens are shaped with two main bulges where the flags are placed, with a narrowing between the bulges. The local rule is that if your ball comes to rest on the wrong side of the green with no direct line between it and the flag, you may take a drop at the nearest point off the green no closer to 10 feet from the green. Not sure if that rule is motivated by fairness or self preservation. :-P
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Originally Posted by B-Con

Why would you have to take a divot when chipping on the green (when it's your own green, obviously)? I know that a proper chip should take a divot, but you don't have to hit the ball that far if your on the green. Just open up your club and let the bounce on it slide along the green surface. If you can pitch 40 yards without taking a divot, surely you can pitch 20 feet without taking a divot.



I don't agree. A pitch shot in my book is one where you use the bounce on the club to get the ball airborne. The bounce hits the ground first, a bit behind the ball, then glides forward and under the ball, sending it up. Doing this, you can hit a pitch shot on a green without making a mark. On a chip shot you hit the ball first and on the way down, which makes the chance for taking a small divot greater. You can still hit a semi chip/pitch shot where you pick it cleanly.

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Originally Posted by Fourputt

You are never allowed to hit from a wrong putting green, ever.

But there is nothing in the rules which forbids chipping or pitching on the putting green of the hole you are playing.  It isn't common practice because, as BostonSully pointed out, greenskeepers can become justifiably violent over unwarranted damage to their beautiful greens.  If I'm ever in a situation where it is not possible to putt the ball from where it lies to the place where the hole is cut, I would think long and hard before I risked even taking a small divot from the putting surface.  I have too much respect for the course and for the people who work hard to keep it in prime condition.

I was in "fun" tournament once where we had a fairly hefty calcata (avrg $700 per player), a massive rain storm came in and we had puddles all over the greens, but they would not shut down the tournament. Sure as hell we chipped and flopped form the green to get over the puddles and shook our heads each time

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