What You Need to Know about Ball Markers and the Rules of Golf

On the putting green, do the rules of golf specify the kinds of objects that can be used as ball markers and the kinds of objects that cannot be used there? Follow the protocol. prohibit the utilization of any specific items on the green for the purpose of serving as ball markers?

Key Takeaways

  • Before picking up your golf ball from the green, you are required to mark its location with either a coin or an object that was created expressly for the purpose of being used as a ball marker in accordance with the Rules of Golf.
  • It is considered to be poor form in the game of golf to use an unusual object as a ball marker, especially if it has the potential to draw the attention of other golfers who are competing in the same round.

First things first, let’s talk about what a ball marker actually does. When a golfer’s ball is lying on the surface of the putting green, the player has the option of picking the ball up and moving it to another location on the green (to, for example, clean it, or to reorient its graphics so they point to the hole). However, according to the Rules of Golf, golfers are required to first mark their position before taking their ball off of the green.

In order to accomplish this, golfers first position an object at the spot where the golf ball is located (usually directly behind it), and then they lift the ball. When it is time to use a new golf ball, the old one is moved to the side and replaced at the location previously marked by the object. The object is then lifted.

Because it is used to indicate where the golf ball should be placed, that particular item is referred to as the “ball mark” or the “ball marker.”

What the Rules Say About Objects Used as Ball Markers

The governing bodies of golf spell “ball-marker” with a hyphen, and the definition of the term “ball-marker” can be found in the Definitions section of the Rules of Golf. The R&A and the USGA define the term as follows:

Tees are most frequently utilized by golfers when the ball being lifted is being done so in a location on the golf course that is not the putting green (for example, when conducting a drop for relief). The rulebook defines a ball marker as “a coin or an object made to be a ball marker,” and the vast majority of golfers use “a coin or an object made to be a ball marker” on the putting green.

Rule 14 describes the processes that must be followed in order to mark the ball, lift the ball, replace the ball, and lift the ball marker.

Conditions of Competition Can Be Used to Limit Ball Markers

Markers of the ball that are not standard or are unusually large may be disallowed in certain competitions. It is not unheard of, for instance, for a condition of competition to state that in order for golfers to be eligible to win, they must compete in PGA of America chapter and sectional tournaments. must If you want to mark balls on the green, you can use “a ball-marker, a small coin, or another similar object.”

We were informed of this by Tyler Dennis, who formerly served as Vice President for Competitions and Administration for the PGA Tour “Before a certain number of years, there was a rule on the Tour that required players to make use of a coin or another small object. As a result of the fact that this rule is no longer in effect, a player is free to mark the ball with any one of a wide variety of implements.”

However, Dennis also made the following observation: “In practice, from an etiquette point of view, everyone uses a coin or small marker.”

If Your Foe’s Ball Marker is Distracting, Can You Make Him Change It?

Is there anything you can do if a competitor or opponent on the green uses an unusual ball marker that you find distracting and you don’t have any recourse against them? Two, in fact: Ask him in a polite manner if he would be willing to switch to something else, preferably something smaller. Or: Require him to move the distracting ball-marker over, one putter-head-length at a time, until it is no longer causing you “mental interference.”

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