Golf is, at they say, a gentleman’s sport, and the golf rules are designed to ensure that you always play like one. But what the rules don’t tell you is that golf if often hardest on those meticulously managed greens. Below are some golf rules your partners, fellow players, and g
reenskeepers will thank you for regarding closely.
Repair your spike marks on each green
There are a lot of people in the world who think that golf shoes serve no other purpose than to make more money for sporting goods manufacturers, but the truth is, golf shoes are designed for comfort and securing your footing during shots. And by utilizing today’s technology, they are more comfortable, breathable, and supportive than a regular pair of athletic shoes.
Though metal spikes are more damaging than their newer, plastic counterparts, all spikes can be damaging to the surface of the green, and the golf rules state that players may not repair old spike marks that appear in the path of their ball. Remember this little fiasco at Augusta
in 2005? Well, here’s what the USGA had to say about the golf rules concerning spikes at that time:
“The Rules of Golf are based on two fundamental principles: (1) play the ball as it lies and (2) play the course as you find it. Permitting the repair of spike marks on a player`s line of play or putt would be contrary to these fundamental principles. Rule 16-1c permits the repair of old hole plugs and ball marks but does not permit the repair of spike damage or other irregularities of surface on the putting green if they are on a player`s line of play or putt or might assist him in his subsequent play of the hole. The distinction lies in the fact that old hole plugs and ball marks are easily identifiable as such, whereas it is impossible to differentiate between spike damage and other irregularities of surface on the putting green. Permitting the repair of spike marks would also inevitably lead to a slower place of play. Please note that proper etiquette recommends that damage to the putting green caused by golf shoe spikes be repaired on completion of the hole by all players, just as a player should fill up and smooth over all holes a
nd footprints made by him before leaving a bunker. We feel that improved education and players` consideration for others rather than a change in the Rules of Golf is the proper solution to the problem.”
Repair ball marks
One of the best feelings in the game of golf is watching your ball as it flies along the proper trajectory and plops down perfectly onto a well manicured green before rolling to within 3 feet of the pin. But you should always remember that your near perfect shot made a nasty dent on the green!
Ball marks are little dents or pock marks that appear as the result of a longer, loftier golf shot wherein the ball falls hard onto the surface of the green. Balls have even been known to dent the green so badly that the grass is ripped up. And while, according to the golf rules, players
may repair ball marks that appear in the path of their ball, the proper etiquette is to repair your own marks on the green before progressing to the next hole.
To repair your ball marks, insert your divot fixer on the outside of the mark at a 45 degree angle and push up slightly so that the mark rises just above the surface of the green. Using your putter, pat the mark back down until it is flat and even with the surface.
The More You Know: A Few Rules Pertaining to Greens Play
The line of putt must not be touched, except to remove loose impediments, lifting or replacing the ball, repairing a ball mark (old or your own) or removing movable obstructions. The player can place the club down in front of the ball when addressing, but may not press anything down.
The most common breach of this rule occurs when a player, partner or fellow competitor physically touches the point on the gre
en where they should be aiming a putt. The line of putt can be pointed to, just not physically touched.
Penalty for breach of rule: for stroke play, a two-stroke penalty; for match play, loss of hole.
A player, partner or caddy can indicate a line for putting prior to but not during the stroke. In doing so, the line of putt can not be physically touched.
This means you cannot have your buddy stand behind the hole so you can aim at his foot. Placing the flagstick on the ground behind the hole also could be construed as a rule violation. It is better to place the flagstick off the side of the green.
Penalty for breach of rule: stroke play, two-stroke penalty; match play, loss of hole.
If a player’s ball moves after it is addressed, other than as a result of a stroke, the player is deemed to have moved the ball and incurs a penalty of one stroke, and the ball must be replaced, unless the movement occurs after the backward movement of the club and the stroke is completed.
Usually this happens in three situations. When grounding the putter to align the putt, it is easy to accidentally bump the ball. A strong wind could move the ball. If the green is very fast and your ball is on a mound, the ball could move. As long as you are aware of the situation, you may be able to avoid a penalty. If the ball moves as you start your backswing, don’t stop! Completing the stroke cancels the penalty.
Penalty for breach of rule: stroke play, one stroke penalty (and ball must be replaced to original position); match play, loss of hole.
If a ball or ball-mark is accidentally moved in the process of lifting the ball under a rule or marking its position, the ball or marker must be replaced. There is no penalty.
This rule is self-explanatory. Many golfers are under false assumptions that there should be a penalty.