Thursday, February 8, 2018
Ask Linda #1695-Mark ball aside on putting green
Can you span a ball on the green in the way of a fellow player by spanning from the ball? And if the ball had already been marked, could you also span from a coin that marks where the ball was? I hope you understand what I am asking. It is difficult to describe. I was told today that spanning a ball from an already marked ball is a two-stroke penalty.
Lulu from Green Valley, Arizona
I assume by “spanning” you mean marking a ball one or more club-head lengths to the side to move it out of the line of putt of another player (at that player’s request, of course; you may not arbitrarily move your ball or ball marker absent a request).
You may take that measurement from the ball (if it has not yet been marked), or from the marker (if you have already marked and lifted the ball). Or if the ball has not yet been marked, and you prefer to mark it and then measure and move it, you may do so. When you replace the ball, you must reverse the procedure. Thus, if you measured from your marker, you will measure back, replace the marker, and then replace the ball. If you measured from your ball, you will measure back and then replace the ball. I like to recommend that you announce the stationary object you sight when you measure the move, so as to avoid argument regarding the accuracy of the replacement.
Whoever told you there is a two-stroke penalty for “spanning” a ball from a marker is mistaken. There is no penalty. The player may measure from the side of the ball or the side of the ball-marker. This is an established and proper procedure. Please read Decision 20-1/16, taking special note of the last paragraph.
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