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Crockme

Marking ground in front of ball as an intermediate target

14 posts in this topic

Off the green when chipping or hitting an iron, I like to use intermediate targets within 2 feet of my ball on the target line to assist with alignment, aim, and confidence during the swing. However, sometimes when I look down nothing jumps out at the eye that is perfectly on-line.

Quick research on the rules of golf state that you can't place anything on the ground and leave it there during the swing to help aim.  So one time during my previous round, when I did n' t see anything helpful on the target line within 2 feet of mall, I just thumped my club on the ground in front of the ball, right along the target line. It barely left a mark and wouldn't be noticeable to anyone but me, as it only slightly smashed the grass down.  It served it's purpose, but after doing it I felt guilty and didn't do it again.  Is this illegal?

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I'll just say yes it is illegal and I'm sure someone else will explain why.

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Illegal. 8-2. Indicating Line Of Play a. Other Than on Putting Green Except on the putting green, a player may have the line of play indicated to him by anyone, but no one may be positioned by the player on or close to the line or an extension of the line beyond the hole while the stroke is being made. Any mark placed by the player or with his knowledge to indicate the line must be removed before the stroke is made.
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What you did amounts to the same thing as if you had placed something on your line of play.  Any mark or alignment aid placed on the ground to assist the player in alignment must be removed prior to playing his stroke.  Since what you did was not removable, you were in breach of Rule 8-2a and incurred a 2 stroke penalty.

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To clarify, hitting the ground is interpreted as placing a mark imo.
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To clarify, hitting the ground is interpreted as placing a mark imo.

If it leaves a mark it is making a mark. No interpretation is needed.

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Not legal, pretty clear. I use the intermediate target on almost every shot. It's not always that easy to find something that stick out, but I don't have that much trouble with it.
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Hey related question, i do something similar to keegan Bradley's routine (without all the footwork). I lay the club behind the ball, with the leading edge pointing at my target. Sometimes the grass doesn't pop back up. I'm just wondering if this is indicating a line of play?

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Hey related question, i do something similar to keegan Bradley's routine (without all the footwork). I lay the club behind the ball, with the leading edge pointing at my target. Sometimes the grass doesn't pop back up. I'm just wondering if this is indicating a line of play?

Read the rule. Does it indicate a line or is it just grass laying down? If it is immediately behind the ball then it might be other rules you need to consult (improving lie).

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There's usually something that can be used as an intermediate aiming point... it might not be obvious at first glance but... there's going to be something... like a blade of grass that isn't following along with the grass around it, or is off color, or is a tiny bit longer or shorter...

unless you're playing on a much better course than I am and everything on and around the green is perfectly manicured and absolutely gorgeous... in which case I'm envious.

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Hey related question, i do something similar to keegan Bradley's routine (without all the footwork). I lay the club behind the ball, with the leading edge pointing at my target. Sometimes the grass doesn't pop back up. I'm just wondering if this is indicating a line of play?

I would think the answer is "it depends."  If someone feels you are intentionally allowing the grass to be pressed down by your club in order to use that as alignment aid during your swing, they could claim it as a violation.  Or as stated, depending on the distance behind the ball you are laying the club, they could claim you are improving your lie.  But similarly, if one takes a practice swing parallel to their ball, one could claim they are using the divot as an alignment aid.  But in both that case and your case, they'd have to convince an official or the committee the act was a deliberate attempt to indicate line of play.

Best thing to do if you feel there is any possibility your actions could be construed incorrectly is not to do them or modify them so there can be no question.

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It's a rule, therefore it is.

but I find this one silly - there's always something to line up with.

On the other hand, using something that's already there is different in principle than placing a foreign object

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Nothing to add other than the sooner you learn to eyeball an intermediate target the better player you will be. It's part of my routine.

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