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...

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