Your ball is on the putting surface – but it isn’t the one you’re playing to. Our Rules of Golf expert reveals what you must do next

You’ve marked, lifted, and cleaned your ball. You’ve repaired any damage on the putting green and you’ve been careful not to deliberately test the green.

All key requirement of Rule 13. But the regulations regarding what you can and can’t do on the dancefloor go even further.

This time, we’re going to look at what happens if you end up on a different green to the one to where you should have played…

I’ve ended up on a wrong green

A wrong green is defined in the rules as any on the course other than the green for the hole the player is playing. That also includes a normal putting green if a temporary green is being used and all practice greens unless they are excluded by a Local Rule.

If you end up on a wrong green, you’ve got to take relief under Rule 13.1f. Interference exists when any part of the ball either touches a wrong green or “lies on or in anything” – the rule gives the example of a loose impediment or obstruction – and is “inside the edge of a wrong green”.

If a wrong green is interfering with either your intended stance or area of swing then you also have to take relief.

It’s not a choice. Rule 13.1f (2) instructs you not to play the ball as it lies. You’ll have to drop, and the relief area is the “nearest point of complete relief on the same area of the course where the original ball came to rest”. Wrong greens are classed as part of the general area.

You’ve got a one-club relief area with all the usual instructions – not nearer the hole than the reference point, in the same area of the course as that point, and with complete relief from any interference from the wrong green.

But don’t get carried away. You won’t get relief from a wrong green if it is “clearly unreasonable”. So if you are right handed, and tried to play left handed because you’d then be standing on a wrong green, your club, type of stance, swing or direction may not be reasonable under those circumstances.

Make sure to take a peek at the Local Rules at the course you’re playing too. A committee can bring in a Local Rule that denies relief from a wrong green if it only interferes with your intended stance.

Next week, we’ll look at how you need to handle the flagstick…

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Steve Carroll

A journalist for 23 years, Steve has been immersed in club golf for almost as long. A former captain and committee member, he has passed the Level 3 Rules of Golf exam with distinction having attended the national Tournament Administrators and Referee's Seminar. He has officiated at a host of high-profile tournaments, including Open Regional Qualifying and the PGA Fourball Championship. A member of NCG's Top 100s panel, Steve has a particular love of links golf and is frantically trying to restore his single-figure handicap.

Handicap: 10.9

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