Thursday, September 30, 2010

Ask Linda #243-Touching ball at address

Hi Linda,

Good day. My buddy has a habit of placing his putter very close to his ball at address when putting, oftentimes touching it. I told him he should incur a stroke penalty because the ball is already in play. He argued that it is fine as long as the ball does not move. Is that right? So what's the ruling on this one?

Thank you very much and keep up the good work.

Lou Lou

Dear Lou Lou,

The general rule is that a player is not permitted to purposely touch his ball in play. However, there is an exception to that rule: a player is permitted to touch the ball with his club when he addresses it [18-2a, i].

Your buddy is correct in telling you that there is no penalty for touching the ball with his putter as long as he does not move the ball.

Great care must be taken when touching the ball at address that the ball is not accidentally moved. Should that happen, the ball must be replaced and the penalty is one stroke.

Needless to say, the cautious golfer would be advised to break this habit.


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