Friday, December 27, 2013

Ask Linda #767-Draw line on ball marker


I have difficulty lining up putts and my golf pro has suggested that I put a black line round the circumference of my golf balls and use a large ball marker (similar to a poker chip) with a black felt tip line running through the diameter of the ball marker. The method is simple - I line up the ball roughly using the black line on the golf ball then place the ball marker behind the ball to mark the position of the ball, ensuring that the black line on the ball marker also points along the line of the putt. I then lift the ball, step back to double check my line of play using the black line on the ball marker (if necessary rotating the ball marker) then ensure that the line of the ball and the line of the ball marker are aligned. I then lift the ball marker and play my shot. I intend to use this for practice rounds, but would this method of alignment be permitted during a competitive round of golf? 

I know that I can use a line marked on a golf ball to indicate my line of play. My golf pro has referred me to decision 8-2a/2 - Object Placed Beside or Behind Ball to Indicate Line of Play. This suggests that this practice would be OK provided that the ball marker is removed before making the stroke, but I still have a niggling doubt as to whether the line of the ball marker could be construed as a training aid – in which case its use during a competitive round of golf would be illegal.

Lou from the United Kingdom

Dear Lou,

Players are permitted to place an object on the ground to assist them in finding their line of play, provided they lift the object before hitting the ball [Decision 8-2a/1]. An ordinary ball marker with a hand-drawn line would not be considered a training aid.

Your marking and aligning procedure, however, is not entirely kosher. You write that you roughly align the ball using the line you have drawn around the ball, and then place your marker behind the ball. You also state that you rotate the marker while the ball is lifted. Either of these activities will cause you to incur a one-stroke penalty. If you wish to rotate your ball, it must be marked. If you wish to rotate your marker, the ball must be in its proper place.

Please remember that there is also a penalty if you unduly delay play [Rule 6-7]; you will need to be very efficient in your marking and aligning routine.

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