May - 2014
I've noticed a trend the last few years with regard to the markers that people use. It used to be considered bad manners to use anything much larger than a penny, but now seems like every group I play with has a marker that should be in Las Vegas at the gaming tables, but seems to have lost its way…
There's an odd thing that sometimes happens when people use a large marker- they don't always put the ball back down in the same manner as they picked it up. None of the friends I play with would ever do this, because we would razz them to no end.
I've noticed this with some strangers I've played with, and maybe they don't realize that you have to be consistent with the manner of marking the ball.
I thought it would be a good refresher to take a look at RULE 20.
20-1. Lifting And Marking
The position of the ball must be marked before it is lifted under a Rule that requires it to be replaced. If it is not marked, the player incurs a penalty of one stroke and the ball must be replaced. If it is not replaced, the player incurs the general penalty for breach of this Rule but there is no additional penalty under Rule 20-1.
If a ball or ball-marker is accidentally moved in the process of lifting the ball under a Rule or marking its position, the ball or ball-marker must be replaced. There is no penalty, provided the movement of the ball or ball-marker is directly attributable to the specific act of marking the position of or lifting the ball. Otherwise, the player incurs a penalty of one stroke under this Rule or Rule 18-2a.
Exception: If a player incurs a penalty for failing to act in accordance with Rule 5-3 or 12-2, there is no additional penalty under Rule 20-1.
Note: 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. If the ball-marker interferes with the play, stance or stroke of another player, it should be placed one or more clubhead-lengths to one side.
In the Decisions book, it is important to read and understand what the Rules require you to do. The Decision 20-1/16 explains this in detail.
Q. The Note to Rule 20-1 provides that "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." Is a player penalized if he uses an object that is not similar to a ball-marker or small coin to mark the position of his ball?
A. No. The provision in the Note to Rule 20-1 is a recommendation of best practice, but there is no penalty for failing to act in accordance with the Note.
Examples of methods of marking the position of a ball that are not recommended, but are permissible, are as follows:
However, under Rule 20-1 it is necessary to physically mark the position of the ball. Reference to an existing mark on the ground does not constitute marking the position of a ball. For example, it is not permissible to mark the position with reference to a blemish on the putting green.
When moving a ball or ball-marker to the side to prevent it from interfering with another player's stance or stroke, the player may measure from the side of the ball or ball-marker. In order to accurately replace the ball on the spot from which it was lifted, the steps used to move the ball or ball-marker to the side should be reversed.