Video Series

Video Transcript

There's no surprise that with such a large portion of our game of the game of golf being played on the putting green, that there's a whole rule dedicated to the putting green and the things that you can and can't do when you're on the green. And some of these things are slightly different from the things you can and can't do out on the golf course or even on the fringe grass. So I've got the trusty rules app with me, just to go through all of the rules to make sure I get exactly the right terminology and the wording and I highlight all the points. And I would stress if you're not clear on the rules, well even if you are clear on the rules, everyone needs to have this rules app or a rule book with them all of the time just to confirm their understanding of the rules.

So rule 16 on the putting green, touching the line of putt. Now the line of putt is an extended line from the golf ball towards the hole that we expect the ball to roll along. Now we're not allowed to touch the line of putt. This is the sacred line. So we're not allowed to touch this. We can't tap this down. We can’t repair spike marks, but there are a couple of exceptions to the rule. And here are the exceptions. The player may remove a loose impediment. So if you’ve got a leaf on your line, you are allowed to pick the leaf up. You are not allowed to necessarily scrape it off with your club if that could be deemed to be tapping it down.

You shouldn’t really kick it off with your foot. You’ll be better off just picking that lead foot with your fingers and throwing it away. And again identify that to your playing partners. Tell them that's what you're going to do, so they don't look suspicious that you are paying that line of putt a bit too much attention. You may place a club down in front of your putt when you're lining it up. So some players are in the habit of when they're setting up, they just touch the ground at the front. Westwood went through a phase of doing this. He touched the ground at the front, then he lifted the club back and then he rolled the ball in.

That is allowed as long as you are not deemed to be pressing it down and tapping it down again. So placing the club down, okay. Pushing the club down and tamping it down, there would be a problem with that one. Now you are allowed to touch the line of putt in the process of measuring. Very occasionally there might be a bit of a discrepancy about who is to – whose turn it is to play. So we generally measure using the flag or if you're quite close, you'd use your club. So you are allowed to touch the putting surface during that process. But again we got to be careful what we do touch and what we don't touch.

You're allowed to touch the line of putt when you're pressing down your ball marker. The line of putt extends backwards for a fair amount. So you're allowed to touch it here when we’re putting the bowl marker down. We’re allowed to touch the line of putt when we’re having a pitch mark. So if there's a pitch mark on your line, as long as it is a pitch mark not a spike mark. Spike marks, you are not allowed to touch, but pitch marks you can. Tell your playing partners, guys I am just going to repair this if that's okay. Repair the pitch mark and then you are allowed to tap that down because that's something that isn't necessarily your fault.

But it's there, you'd be okay with that one. And repairing an old hole plug, so if there's an old hole plug that's in your line, you are allowed to do a little bit of maintenance on that just to tap that down. So there are the reasons why you are allowed to touch that line of putt. I told you this was complicated. That's only the line of putt, but you know now there's a lot going on here, still rule 16. Now lifting and cleaning the golf ball, when you're on the putting green you are allowed to lift and clean the golf ball. Now you're not allowed to do that in general play when you're on the fairway.

So it's a slightly different rule when you come to the green. So if you’ve got the ball on the green and it's landed on the green, it might have picked up a bit of mud or a bit of dirt. So you are allowed to lift it and clean it. We take out the ball marker, a coin, a disk, a tea peg. We place it behind the ball in the direction of the hole. Let's imagine we are on a clock face 12 o'clock at the top, 6 o'clock at the back, always marking the ball at 6 o'clock and then pick the golf ball up. You're allowed to give it a good clean, a little brush, wipe it out on a handkerchief if you need to.

Then you are allowed to place it back down again and then go ahead and pick the ball marker up. Now it looks like a fairly simple process but occasionally people get into difficulties. They might mark it to the side. They then remark on the other side, and suddenly the ball’s moved. They may mark it in front and then replace it in front again and suddenly the balls got nearer to the hole. If you mark it at the back there's no problems. It replaces it at the back, you can't possibly cheat. So that process should work. Now Ian Poulter found out he was guilty of this one, by accident might I admit.

He put his ball down, sorry put his marker down, picked his ball up and then he dropped that by accident onto his ball marker. His ball marker flipped over. That cost him a penalty. He lost the tournament. That cost him quite a few quid as well. He did say it was something like a $2000 platinum and diamond encrusted ball marker. So he can probably afford to lose a few quid. But I'm sure he was still a bit gutted about costing himself a penalty just for something as simple as dropping his ball marker, sorry dropping his golf ball on top of his ball marker.

So be careful when you are marking your golf ball. Be careful of the lifting and cleaning rule and regulation. But remember, that's only on the green. You're not allowed to do that if you're on the fringe. So repairing the hole plugs, repairing the ball marks, we've done that. Now testing the surface of the green. You're not allowed to test the surface of the green. Testing the surface, you might deem that as rolling another ball along the surface and see whether it’s fast, slow, uphill, downhill. Not allowed to do it. Scraping your club along the ground to see whether there’s grain or there’s surface grain or whether it’s long grass or short grass, that's not allowed.

Rubbing it with your foot, that's not allowed. All these little things on the putting green that could catch you out if you're not careful of them. Now we’re on E now, rule 16 E, standing astride the line of putt. This is an interesting one. You are not actually allowed to stand astride the line of putt. So if you've got a ball here, it would be illegal to make the putting stroke like that. You're not allowed to do that. You are not allowed to stand this way and hit it, you are not allowed to stand that way and hit it. So you got to be really careful. You stand to the side, but you are not allowed to stand astride it. Now that might be quite awkward, particularly when you're just tapping it around the hole that people just sort of stand aside and tap it.

There's a problem with doing that. So make sure you always take a proper stance to the side and you're not going to stand astride the line of putt. Right making a stroke while another ball is in motion. This is your playing partner hitting his ball towards the hole, and you having a go as well. That's a penalty as well on the putting green, so all these different things give you penalties. And like we’ve come to expect by now, breach of that penalty matchplay loss of hole, strokeplay two shot penalty. So if you can review all of that for the rules in relation to the putting green, hopefully you won't fall foul of any of those issues and you'll have a decent score going on the putting green with no penalties.