If you’re playing in a group of two or more golfers, you’ll often need to mark your ball on the green with a coin or similar object.
This is necessary any time your ball is on or near the line of another player’s putt; in fact, many golfers mark the ball on every green regardless of position.
Marking your ball is quite simple. A dime, nickel or quarter works best because it’s shiny and easily spotted (unlike an old penny), and many golf gloves have a small marker attached for this very purpose. Any coin-like item will do.
When you reach the green, walk to your ball (making sure not to step on another golfer’s line). Facing the cup, bend down behind your ball, place the coin just under the back edge, pick up the ball and wipe it clean of any dirt, debris or moisture that could cause it to roll off line.
When your turn comes, just place the ball in its original spot and pick up your marker.
Occasionally, your ball marker will lie directly on the line of another golfer’s putt. When this happens, proceed as follows:
1. Ask your partner which way he’d prefer you to spot the marker, left or right (based on the break of his putt).
2. Stand beside your mark and find a landmark, such as a tree, on a line perpendicular to the line of your putt.
3. Place the heel of your putter on the side of the marker (left or right), with the toe pointing at the landmark.
4. Move the mark to the toe end of your putter.
5. Once your partner has putted, align your putter with the landmark and move the mark back to its original spot.
Remember, marking your ball is only allowed on the green. The exception is when a ball in the fairway, rough or sand interferes with another golfer’s ball – for example, if the two balls are so close together that you can’t hit one without hitting the other.