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ball-marker

Can I putt with my ball-marker still in place?

Pre-shot putting routines can see the pros messing about with ball-markers. What if they forget to remove it before putting? Our Rules of Golf expert explains

 

A column on what to do if you accidentally moved your ball on the green quickly set off on another tangent in my inbox. Kudos to those of you who got in touch to ask the following: “Is it OK to putt your ball without moving your ball-marker?”

If I had to guess, the motivation for a number of these exhortations come from the rather elaborate pre-shot putting routines we now see on tour every week.

Depending on whom you’re watching, a ball-marker seems to spend an inordinate time in place as players go through the rigmarole of getting ready to putt.

What if they forgot to remove it?

ball-marker

Golf ball-marker rules: Putting with a golf ball-marker still in place?

It’s a simple enough question and, thankfully, it’s got a simple answer too. Rule 14.1a – Spot of Ball to be Lifted and Replaced Must be Marked – goes through the procedure of what to do when lifting a ball under a Rule which requires the ball to be replaced on its original spot.

It says if the spot is marked with a ball-marker then, once the ball has been replaced, a player has to remove the marker before making a stroke.

If they fail to do this, it’s a one shot penalty.

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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