My girlfriends and I love our ball marker bling, but more important than what your marker looks like is knowing how to mark your golf ball on the green.
What’s The Rule?
Once you reach the green, there’s a couple of reasons you’ll need to mark the location of your ball.
- It may be in the line of someone else’s putt, and if their ball strikes your ball they will incur a penalty (and you don’t want to be the cause of that, do you?)
- You may want to clean your ball and/or reposition it as you line it up to putt
Rule 14.1 Marking, Lifting and Cleaning Ball On the Green
A ball may be lifted by the player, her partner or another person authorized by the player.
The position of the ball on the green must be marked before it is lifted.
The position of a ball to be lifted should be marked by placing a ball-marker, a small coin or other similar object immediately behind the ball.
You may also mark your ball by holding a club on the ground right behind or right next to the ball.
Who Cares How Your Mark Your Golf Ball?
Well, in fun weekend golf with your girlfriends or your man, no one cares.
However, if you’re playing in a ladies’ day event where there’s cash on the line, a guest day with prizes, or an actual tournament event, then you may very well incur a penalty if you’re marking your ball wrong.
Should You Mark Your Golf Ball By Placing Your Marker In Front Of or Behind The Ball?
According to Southern California Golf Association, this is a way that some golfers can either knowingly or unknowingly cheat.
I’ve actually seen some women put their marker in one place to pick up their ball, but then put the ball closer to the hole when they go to replace their ball.
This is a no-no!
You should place your marker immediately behind the ball or to the left or right of it.
BUT if sometimes you place it to the right of your ball, and sometimes behind it, then you’re in danger of making a mistake and inadvertently advancing your ball closer to the hole when you’re ready to replace your ball and putt.
The best way to avoid any penalty is to always place your marker directly behind the ball, then pick up the ball.
Penalty For Making Your Stroke With The Ball Marker Still On The Green
Another aspect of Rule 14.1a:
“If the spot is marked with a ball-marker, after replacing the ball the player must remove the ball-marker before making a stroke.”
And don’t forget to repair the divot your ball made when it hit the green. Good golf etiquette dictates you should repair your ball mark and one other. Here’s a USGA video that shows you the proper way to repair a divot on the green.