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Standing Behind on Extension of the Line of Fellow Competitor's Putt

Getting a "Read" from a Fellow Competitor's Putt along a Similar Line  

25 members have voted

  1. 1. Which is more distracting for a ten-foot putt?

    • A fellow competitor standing 30' behind the ball on an extension of your line of putt.
      4
    • A fellow competitor standing 10' behind the ball and 3' to the side of an extension of your line of putt and jumping in when you hit the putt.
      21


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I think most of us know that you cannot stand on the extension of the line of play or putt of someone on your side (your caddie cannot stand there, you cannot stand there for your partner's shot, etc.).

It's also poor etiquette (it's in the Rules' "Etiquette" section) to stand on the line of putt of anyone else, but that's also pretty common sense. It's also poor etiquette to stand really close to a fellow competitor while they're playing a shot. Again, most people know that. They also know you're not supposed to distract another player, and so on and so forth…

But what's perfectly legal is to stand behind (i.e. basically on the extension of the line of putt behind the ball) to observe a player hitting a putt. In fact, I will advise my college players to do this, under the condition that they're WAY back so as not to possibly distract the person putting the ball.

I also advise them that if the player asks them even once to move, that they step to the side enough to satisfy (and stop standing there the rest of the round), and then do the usual dumb dance where players rush in to stand on that extension of the line right after the stroke is made.

What I don't get is how people are upset by this. Yet it happens.

For example…

  • My player has an eight-foot putt from 6:45.
  • His fellow competitor has a ten-footer from 7:15.
  • My player stands 30 or 35 feet back of the player, unmoving.

In that case, I think he's in the clear. Hell, someone could stand 10' back of me, on a 10' putt, and I'm not gonna notice them if they're still and silent. 30' is more than enough room.

But people feel like this is "cheating," somehow. Many people, despite me saying "I think most of us know…" above, think that the rule is actually the opposite: that your partner can stand there, but your opponents cannot. I've heard "that doesn't make sense - why should your opponent or fellow competitor benefit but your partner cannot?" when I've told people what the rule actually says.

IMO, standing 30' back is better than standing 10' back and 3' to the side… and then rushing to step in behind the line when the player hits the putt.

I wouldn't care. Sometimes you get lucky, and you "get a read" from someone. I'd rather someone stand still 30' back (or even 15' back) than stand close by but eager to jump in behind me to watch my ball roll. Hell, I honestly don't care where they stand so long as it's not in my field of view.

But some people are uptight about this.


As with most things, I feel I understand both the nature of the rules and the rules themselves. I understand and appreciate the unwritten rules, too, I feel. This practice violates neither - I'm not advising anyone to stand anywhere near where someone can see them, and they move less than someone who steps in from just behind.

Yet players object to this more than seems normal to me, and I'm trying to understand why. And also, perhaps a little, to point out that you too can stand there (and that if you do that with me, so long as I can't see you or hear you, I couldn't care less).

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I would prefer they be 30' back, even if they're "on the same line". If I'm putting and can see their feet it behind me doesn't per say bother me, but it's noticeable. 

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I would much rather someone stand on the extension of line, but 30' back. 

The distraction isn't where they're standing, but knowing in your mind that as soon as you make your stroke, they're going to come rushing over, and wondering, as you prepare to putt, if they'll jump the gun...

 

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I voted the 2nd option. Mostly because the golfer is the closest to my peripheral vision. I also wouldn't know for certain if he moved before or after I hit my putt. Even then those type of things do not bother me much anyways. I know some people can get real touchy about any sort of movement or being in the golfers peripheral vision. 

I tend to not stand directly on the target line, even 30 feet back. I will be off to the side. Maybe one large step away. I know some people can get upset about it. I just don't want to deal with the shit storm that could come from it. 

 

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I voted that the second option may be a bit more distracting. I'm not sure either would be that bad while I'm putting though.

As far as when I'm waiting, I don't think I'm anywhere near the line when my opponent is putting. I'm usually fairly off to the side. Yes, I definetely like to see how the ball rolls as it approaches the hole, but I don't know that you have to rush over and look directly down the line to get that read. Maybe I'm missing something.

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I, like most people, don't really care where people stand as long as they aren't in my field of view. Drives me a little bonkers though when they stand right behind me and I can see them. Too many people do not understand this little bit of etiquette. 

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Doesnt bother me either way. Heck, when i started my uncle used to commentate on what i was doing during my entire putt. When i asked him why as it was a little annoying, he said "If you can make a putt with an obvious and intentional distraction then nothing should really affect you".

It worked although i now have an internal commentator in my head on every putt!

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I voted 2 although I rarely notice anyone when I putt. I wear Rx glasses, usually sunglasses. If they are not in my view through the glasses, they aren't that noticeable regardless of where they are. Sound is more of an annoyance.

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As long as they are not moving around then neither will bother me; if they are moving then the one that is closer would likely bother me moreso than the one farther away

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I voted 2, but for me what other golfers are doing doesn't really bother me while I'm playing.   But I play with several people that can hear a dog fart from 4 fairways over that will distract them, and they will get all kinds of upset if you are in their peripheral vision on the green.

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I voted 2, but I really don't care where people are standing. Just don't be too close to me.

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1 hour ago, boogielicious said:

I voted 2 although I rarely notice anyone when I putt. I wear Rx glasses, usually sunglasses. If they are not in my view through the glasses, they aren't that noticeable regardless of where they are. Sound is more of an annoyance.

I would have written exactly this. Stay out of my way as I walk around the putt and assess the line, but I could care less if you were three feet directly behind me when I stroke it.  Talking and joking around, on the other hand ...

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1 hour ago, jsgolfer said:

I voted 2, but for me what other golfers are doing doesn't really bother me while I'm playing.   But I play with several people that can hear a dog fart from 4 fairways over that will distract them, and they will get all kinds of upset if you are in their peripheral vision on the green.

I wish you'd quit blaming the dog 4 fairways over.:-D

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I'm surprised as hell - honestly - that not one person has mentioned that it's annoying when someone watches you putt from the extension of your line of putt behind your ball. And nobody's pointed out that they didn't realize this was legal, and that they thought it was illegal for a fellow competitor to stand there.

I wonder if you're all picturing 25 or 30' as farther away than it is, or something.

Because it's a bigger issue generally speaking than people here have indicated. Now, we surely have a higher educated brand of golfer here, but still… I'm surprised.

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19 minutes ago, iacas said:

I'm surprised as hell - honestly - that not one person has mentioned that it's annoying when someone watches you putt from the extension of your line of putt behind your ball. And nobody's pointed out that they didn't realize this was legal, and that they thought it was illegal for a fellow competitor to stand there.

I wonder if you're all picturing 25 or 30' as farther away than it is, or something.

Because it's a bigger issue generally speaking than people here have indicated. Now, we surely have a higher educated brand of golfer here, but still… I'm surprised.

Maybe no one mentioned it because either doesn't occur or it just isn't a big deal. 

At least one person posted that they didn't think they had ever stood on someone else's line - ever -  and was surprised this was a thing.

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