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golf ball marker

My ball hit a marker on the green and went in – does it count?

Has a ball marker got in the way of your putt? Here’s what our Rules of Golf expert says must happen

 

We mark our balls everywhere on the green. It’s good practice and can save you a costly penalty if there are several balls on the putting surface at once.

But what happens if your hole-bound putt clips a ball marker on its way to the hole? What if that deflection is the only reason it went in?

Is it all over? Does the stroke count? Are you picking up a penalty if you don’t take remedial action? If you weren’t aware of this golf ball markers rule, prepare to soon be in the know!

moving a golf ball marker

Golf ball markers rule: What happens when your ball hits one on the green?

Rule 11.1b (2) reveals that when a ball in motion played from the putting green hits a ball marker, the stroke counts and the ball is played as it lies.

In this case, the ball is in the hole so write the score down and move on.

Before the stroke, of course, a player whose ball marker might help or interfere with play can move it out of the way if it is their own, using Rule 15.3c. If the marker belongs to another player, they can also require that player to move it.

Got a question for our expert?

Despite the changes to the Rules of Golf in 2019 and 2023, there are still some that leave us scratching our heads. I’ll try to help by featuring the best of your queries in this column.

What do you think about these golf ball marker rules? Let me know by leaving a comment on X.

Steve Carroll

Steve Carroll

A journalist for 25 years, Steve has been immersed in club golf for almost as long. A former club captain, he has passed the Level 3 Rules of Golf exam with distinction having attended the R&A's prestigious Tournament Administrators and Referees Seminar.

Steve has officiated at a host of high-profile tournaments, including Open Regional Qualifying, PGA Fourball Championship, English Men's Senior Amateur, and the North of England Amateur Championship. In 2023, he made his international debut as part of the team that refereed England vs Switzerland U16 girls.

A part of NCG's Top 100s panel, Steve has a particular love of links golf and is frantically trying to restore his single-figure handicap. He currently floats at around 11.

Steve plays at Close House, in Newcastle, and York GC, where he is a member of the club's matches and competitions committee and referees the annual 36-hole scratch York Rose Bowl.

Having studied history at Newcastle University, he became a journalist having passed his NTCJ exams at Darlington College of Technology.

What's in Steve's bag: TaylorMade Stealth 2 driver, 3-wood, and hybrids; TaylorMade Stealth 2 irons; TaylorMade Hi-Toe, Ping ChipR, Sik Putter.

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