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JackOConnor

Rules on lining up putts

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I regularily play golf with a few friends. One of them has a strange and controversial method of lining up his putts. I believe it to be illegal.

He does the following: Has a look at the putt and takes some practice swings. Then, he grounds the putter behind the ball and while keeping one hand on the grip and not moving the putter, he crouches down behind the putter and lines up the head of the putter with his other hand. Then he takes his stance once again without moving the putter from where he lined it up and takes his stroke.

Is this legal?

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Rules concerning putting and the green:

1. You cannot test the grain

2. You must mark your ball if picking up/turning

3. You may clean your ball

4. You may not fix spike marks

5. You may fix ball marks and remove debris

6. You cannot putt with the flag in if your ball is on the green.

Everything else is fair game.

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I think he may be breaking rule 8-2b

Quote:

When a player's ball is on the putting green, the player....may, before but not during the stroke, point out a line for putting, but in so doing the putting green must not be touched.

Does this not count as during the stroke?

Also, the putting green must not be touched.

Am I interpreting this correctly?

Edit Putting green

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Originally Posted by pixel5

6. You cannot putt with the flag in if your ball is on the green.

Yes you can. It's just a penalty if you hit the flagstick. :-)

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Originally Posted by iacas

Yes you can. It's just a penalty if you hit the flagstick. :-)

Interesting, I just made the exact same point in another thread.

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Originally Posted by JackOConnor

I think he may be breaking rule 8-2b

Does this not count as during the stroke?

Also, the putting green must not be touched.

Am I interpreting this correctly?

Edit Putting green

Short answer is no.  If I understand your original post, he's is aligning his putter with this right hand on the putter head. When he rests the putter head on the green immediately behind the ball, he has addressed it.  No violation. After that, he aligns the putter with his right hand on the head.....still no violation.  The rules don't care if your right hand is on the grip or the head in the act of aligning the head.  He then takes a normal grip and stance and makes his stroke.  No violation.  The only thing that might be of concern with some is if he touched the green while aligning up the putter head.  IMHO, I don't see a violation of 8-2b in this instance.  This thread, http://thesandtrap.com/t/58953/is-it-legal-to-use-your-putter-to-line-up-your-putt talks about something similar and the discussion mainly focused on whether touching the green behind the ball was touching the "Line for Putting" mentioned in 8-2b..  I posed this question on another rules forum.

http://golfrules.freeforums.org/line-for-putting-t1833.html

The discussion got somewhat involved as to the difference in "The line for putting" in R8-2b versus "The Line of Putt" referenced in the definitions and Rule 16-1, however I believe the consensus was in both cases, touching the green behind the ball was not a violation.

BTW, I posed the question in the other thread to the USGA.  I never got an answer.....

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Originally Posted by iacas

Yes you can. It's just a penalty if you hit the flagstick. :-)

If you can put a ball with the flagstick in...and not hit the flagstick...

...you should stop cutting your holes bigger than regulation!

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Wow I don't know if I would be your friend while playing golf. You seem to WANT to find something illegal he is doing.

Unless you're playing in a USGA sanctioned tournament. Why do you care so much about his technique?

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Originally Posted by pixel5

If you can put a ball with the flagstick in...and not hit the flagstick...

...you should stop cutting your holes bigger than regulation!

Not sure if you're being sarcastic. You are correct that holing out a putt would hit the flag. However, you can putt with the flag in without penalty if you don't hit the flag.

When I play alone or fast with a group, I will sometimes putt a very long putt with the flag in and unattended. I've yet to hit the flag on those long bombs.

To the OP: The  guy's routine is goofy but not illegal. It also makes me feel better about my routine. :)

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Originally Posted by rustyredcab

Not sure if you're being sarcastic. You are correct that holing out a putt would hit the flag. However, you can putt with the flag in without penalty if you don't hit the flag.

When I play alone or fast with a group, I will sometimes putt a very long putt with the flag in and unattended. I've yet to hit the flag on those long bombs.

To the OP: The  guy's routine is goofy but not illegal. It also makes me feel better about my routine. :)

Exactly. Nobody said "hole a putt." They just said putt with the flagstick in. It's perfectly legal.

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I occasionally golf with a guy who has one of those stand up putters.  If you haven't seen them they have a big, ugly (ugly!) head that allows it to stand up on its own so the player can stand behind the ball and move it until it is on line.  Stupid thing looks like a piece of bended sheet metal with a shaft and a grip. We like to give him crap about how ugly the putter is and what an awful noise it makes (doink!).  But I'm afraid totally legal - and painful since he putts great with it.

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Originally Posted by rustyredcab

Not sure if you're being sarcastic. You are correct that holing out a putt would hit the flag. However, you can putt with the flag in without penalty if you don't hit the flag.

Yes, and by Decision 17-3/1, it's impossible even to argue that your lag putt was so perfect that it just dropped into the cup without touching the flagstick. (This is clearly true---the ball is only holed when it comes to rest, which is plainly impossible for it to do without striking the flag stick at some point, even if the ball does not touch it on the way to the bottom of the cup.)

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Originally Posted by turtleback

Interesting, I just made the exact same point in another thread.

I think it was Seve who actually had his caddie tend the flagstick on even 6' putts, as long as the caddie pulled the flagstick out of the cup before the ball went in it was legal.This was a while ago so maybe the rule has been changed but I don't think so.

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I occasionally golf with a guy who has one of those stand up putters.  If you haven't seen them they have a big, ugly (ugly!) head that allows it to stand up on its own so the player can stand behind the ball and move it until it is on line.  Stupid thing looks like a piece of bended sheet metal with a shaft and a grip. We like to give him crap about how ugly the putter is and what an awful noise it makes (doink!).  But I'm afraid totally legal - and painful since he putts great with it.

check out Bridgestones new putter line. They are going a very different direction on the counter balance putter. They are able to stand up on their own as well but with a very traditional look.

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I've read both http://thesandtrap.com/t/58953/is-it-legal-to-use-your-putter-to-line-up-your-putt and http://golfrules.freeforums.org/line-for-putting-t1833.html as referenced in Dormie's post and I figured I'd throw in my tuppence worth. It would probably be more appropriate in http://thesandtrap.com/t/58953/is-it-legal-to-use-your-putter-to-line-up-your-putt but I didn't want to bump a nearly year old thread.

Anyway, the point that strikes me about the language of 8.2b is "... may, before but not during the stroke, point out a line for putting ,"

There seems to have been a lot of discussion about where the 'line for putting' is in relation to the 'line of putt' as discussed in 16.1 but the point I haven't seen made anywhere is that the language 'line for putting' seems to me clearly intended to indicate a point at which the ball would be aimed.

Thus, any point on the green in a direction opposite from that which the ball will be traveling cannot possibly be used to 'point out a line for putting'.

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