Wow, did I do a double take of your two stroke penalty for repairing a spike mark in the line of putt.
I have always repaired ball marks for my own ball, which are almost always in front of my ball, caused by the ball backing up about a half foot. That can’t be a two stroke penalty.
Everyone in the foursome repairs ball marks wherever they are.
If ball marks are OK, how do you tell spike marks in today’s golf with only soft spikes allowed? If the area around the hole is roughed up by someone dragging the flag out of the hole, we also tamp that down as it is unfair to have the hole damaged.
Is that really wrong????
Dear Lou Lou,
I’m afraid you’re in for a bit of a shock, Lou. You are permitted to repair old hole plugs, and you are permitted to repair damage to the green caused by the impact of a ball – nothing else. You will incur a two-stroke penalty for any other repair if it might assist you in your play of the hole (Rule 16-1c).
So go ahead and repair your ball mark (and a couple of others, while you’re at it), and stomp down on an old hole plug if it has risen above the surface, but don’t repair anything else that may be on anyone’s line of putt until everyone has finished putting.
Here are examples of some things you may and may not do:
1. You may remove loose impediments from your line of putt, but you may not brush away dew or frost.
2. You may not remove casual water from the hole (Rule 13-2).
3. You may not touch the inside of the hole unless you are repairing damage from a ball mark.
4. If the hole has been damaged by anything other than a ball mark, you may not repair it if the hole is still basically round.
5. You may only repair damage that has significantly changed the shape of the hole.
6. If you remove an acorn that is not solidly embedded (and therefore a loose impediment), you may not repair the depression in which the acorn lay.
7. Spike marks are rare in these days of soft spikes. However, golfers occasionally get sloppy and drag their feet on the green, thereby raising tufts of grass. You are not permitted to tamp those tufts down if they are on your line of putt, but you are permitted to chastise the inconsiderate player who did not fix the damage he caused.
8. You may repair a ball mark that was previously repaired by another golfer, as long as it is clearly identifiable as a ball mark.
9. You may place your hand on the green to determine if it is wet as long as you don’t roughen or scrape the grass to test the surface. Be careful not to touch your line of putt, as that would be a penalty.
10. Technically, you are permitted to rub your ball on the green to clean it. However, since such an act could be misinterpreted as an attempt to test the surface of the green, I would recommend that you avoid any argument about your intentions and find some other way to clean your ball.
Putting is tough enough without having to contend with spike marks and damage caused by players who carelessly remove the flagstick from the hole or drop it on the green. How hard can it be to lift the flagstick straight out of the hole and place it gently just off the green? And didn’t your mother teach you not to drag your feet when you walk?
Repair those ball marks and old hole plugs before you putt. Any other repairs must wait until your group is ready to leave.
Copyright © 2009 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.