Putting-green es­sen­tials – Rules 16 and 17

Golf Monthly - - Rory Mcilroy -

In terms of your line of putt, you can re­pair pitch or ball marks caused by the im­pact of the ball, and old hole plugs, but any other dam­age to the putting green, such as spike marks, must not be re­paired if it might as­sist the player in their sub­se­quent play of the hole (Rule 16-1c). ‘Gar­den­ing’ and re­pair­ing all dam­age on the line of putt would un­doubt­edly lead to a slower pace of play.

Loose im­ped­i­ments such as twigs, cones, leaves and stones (and, of course, sand and soil) may be re­moved or brushed away us­ing what­ever comes to hand – cap, towel, hand or even your put­ter – pro­vided you don’t press any­thing down on your line in do­ing so.

You are not al­lowed to test the putting sur­face by rolling a ball along it, or by rough­en­ing or scrap­ing the sur­face (Rule 16-1d), nor are you al­lowed to putt with your feet stand­ing astride the line of putt or touch­ing it (Rule 16-1e).

Con­trary to what some believe, you may have the flag­stick at­tended when You ball is deemed to be holed when it is at rest within the cir­cum­fer­ence of the hole and all of it is be­low the level of the lip your ball lies off the putting green as well as on it (Rule 17-3). And, you can hold the flag­stick in one hand while tap­ping the ball in with the other should you so de­sire, as long as it has been re­moved from the hole and your ball doesn’t strike it.

Fi­nally, when is your ball deemed to be holed? Ac­cord­ing to the Rules, it is “when it is at rest within the cir­cum­fer­ence of the hole and all of it is be­low the level of the hole.” So, if you have chipped in or holed a putt from the fringe but the ball hasn’t fully dis­ap­peared and is rest­ing against the flag­stick, make sure all of it dips be­low the level of the hole by mov­ing or re­mov­ing the flag­stick be­fore pluck­ing your ball out (Rule 17-4).

If it’s hang­ing ag­o­nis­ingly on the lip, the Rules al­low ten sec­onds af­ter you reach the hole (with­out un­rea­son­able de­lay!) for your ball to drop. If it re­fuses to com­ply within that time­frame but does then drop, that will count as an ex­tra shot in the form of a penalty stroke with­out you ac­tu­ally hav­ing to play it (Rule 16-2).

egard­less of the route your ball takes on any golf hole, un­less you are ei­ther con­ced­ing in match play or record­ing a blob in a Sta­ble­ford, the fi­nal ac­tion will be played out on the putting green. The putting green is a spe­cial part of the course, and there are sev­eral Rules re­lat­ing to what you can and can’t do, much of which is to be found in Rules 16 and 17.

Once your ball has reached the finely cut grass at the far end of the hole, you are al­lowed to do cer­tain things that you are not per­mit­ted to do else­where on the golf course – for ex­am­ple, mark­ing and lift­ing the ball, clean­ing it or brush­ing sand away from your line (Rule 16-1a).

The putting green is the only part of the course where sand and soil are classed as loose im­ped­i­ments. So, if some­one has cre­ated a bit of a mess ex­tri­cat­ing themselves from a green­side bunker, you may brush away any sand or soil on the green, but not on the fringe, fairway or rough.

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