Friday, July 21, 2017

Ask Linda #1578-Put a mark on the green

Playing in a 2-person team league, I hit a shot into the green, making a nice ball mark due to a light rain shower. I got behind my ball, squatted down and marked my ball. I then inspected my ball, which was dirty. I spit on my ball and rubbed it on the green, making a visible arching crescent moon-shape line near my mark, but not directly behind it and, like I said earlier, the line was arched. The other team said I should take a 2-stroke penalty for making a mark on the green, regardless of intent to aid alignment or not. I said absolutely not, because the mark was not intended to aid in my putt. The light rain shower happened late in the round, and it was late in the evening, so it could have been a combo of rain droplets and dew. I did this same thing on multiple holes before the rain with no complaints. In no way was I intending to make a mark with intent to aid my putt. What would be the correct ruling here????
Thanks in advance.

Lou from Roscoe, New York

Dear Lou,

There is no blanket penalty for simply making a stray mark on the green. There is a penalty for drawing a mark to indicate your line of putt or to aid in your alignment [Rule 8-2]. Since you apparently did neither, you did not incur a penalty.

While it is permissible to clean your ball by rubbing it on the putting green, it is not recommended [Decision 16-1d/5]. Why risk being accused of testing the surface of the green or making a mark to aid your alignment when you could simply use a towel or wipe it on your pants?

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