Friday, August 16, 2013

Ask Linda #708-Testing the green

During a recent club 4-ball Ambrose tournament, one of the players in my group hit his ball close to the pin. Mine and another player’s ball went past and ended up next to the edge of the green. I picked mine up and used my putter to hit the other player's ball back to him. I was told I could not do that as that was "testing the green." He went on to say that if I was on the green and accidentally dropped my ball on the green, that would be "testing the green." After reading the rule we are still not sure.
Could you please explain?
Lou from Perth, Australia

Dear Lou,

A player is only guilty of testing the surface of the putting green if he does so intentionally.  

If the purpose of returning the ball to your teammate by hitting it with the putter were to test the surface, you would incur a two-stroke penalty. Your narrative seems to indicate that this was a casual act, with no thought of testing the green. Therefore, there is no penalty.

Accidentally dropping a ball does not constitute testing the green. Accidents are, by definition, not intentional.

The manner in which a player putts or drops a ball and his purpose in doing so would determine whether he was testing the surface.

There are two Decisions on this topic you may want to read: 16-1d/1 and 16-1d/2.

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