Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Ask Linda #1522-When you may lift a ball on the putting green

Playing in a foursome today I was instructed by one of the players that I could not mark my ball until all four players were on the green or I was asked by another player to mark it.
Rule 22-2 clearly indicates the penalties for using a ball to benefit another golfer's shot. However, I cannot find a specific rule stating that I may mark my ball at any time once it is on the putting surface. Is there such a rule either way?
Thank you.
Lou from Medina, Ohio

Dear Lou,

When another player hits you with a supposed Rule that you have never heard of, pull out the rulebook that you should be carrying in your bag and ask him to show you the Rule. If the player is correct (which he is not, in this case), you will learn a new Rule; if he is not, you will be able to proceed as planned.

I can assure you that the player in your narrative will not find a requirement that all players must be on the green before any player may mark and lift his ball – no such Rule exists. What you will find in the book is Rule 16-1b, which states quite simply that “a ball on the putting green may be lifted…” This means exactly what it says – when your ball is on the putting green, you may lift it. It goes on to say the ball must be marked before it is lifted, but I think we all know that.

If the Rules wanted you to wait for the balls from all the players in your group to be on the green before any player marked and lifted his own ball, they would say so. The Rules are never shy about telling you what you may or may not do. If you cannot find a Rule that prohibits a certain action, you may do it.

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