Q: Jack and Martha are on No. 4 at Sapelo Hammock. Both players have hit their balls on the green, and it is Jack’s turn to putt. He notices numerous spike marks around the hole and begins to tap them down with his putter. Martha tells Jack that he is not allowed to do so. Is she correct?
A: Martha is correct. Such action would be a breach of rule 16-1c, since repair of spike marks in the vicinity of the hole might assist Jack in the play of the hole. Martha knows the rules; she also knows that the penalty is two strokes.
Tip of the day: After you have finished playing a hole, it is good etiquette to tap down any spike marks that you see — as long as you do not slow up play. If everyone did so, there would no spike marks that might affect your putt.
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