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Marking your ball on the green

POSTED: September 11, 2013 12:07 p.m.
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Graham Lewis

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Q:  Arnold and Clair are playing in a local tournament. On the first green, Arnold marks his ball by placing his marker approximately 2 inches behind his ball. Clair says that she was told that this is not permissible. Arnold says that it makes no difference, since he does this all the time and he always replaces his ball where it was before it was marked. He adds that he does this to avoid moving his ball accidentally. Is Clair correct?
A: Clair is correct. A player who places a ball-marker 2 inches behind his ball cannot be considered to have marked the position of the ball with sufficient accuracy. Accordingly, each time he does so, the player incurs a penalty of one stroke and must place the ball as near as possible to the spot from which it was lifted.  
Tip of the day:  If you accidentally move your ball while in the process of marking or lifting your ball, there is no penalty.
As always, have fun while practicing and playing the game of golf. Email me at with any questions or suggestions.  
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