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A guide to the rules of golf



MARKING THE BALL

As soon as the ball is on the putting green, a player may pick up and wipe his ball as long as its position is marked properly.

The ball is on the putting green when any part of it touches the surface.

You may use anything to mark the ball but a small coin or marker pin is recommended.

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If the marker is in the line of your opponent's putt you may move the marker to either side of the line.

This should be done by marking the ball then moving it one club's head or club's length to the side on a line with a fixed spot on the horizon.

Be careful after marking your ball and putting in your pocket that you take out the right one.

If you put down and play a different ball, you will be penalised two shots, or in match play, lose the hole.

Take care what you do while you are waiting to putt. You are not allowed to practice putting on the green or test the surface before your shot.

ATTENDING THE FLAG

Hitting an unattended pin with a shot played from off the green is fine.

But once you are on the putting surface, if your ball hits the flagstick you will be penalised two shots.

Attendeding the flag

In match play you lose the hole.

This applies whether the flagstick is in the hole or lying on the green.

You may ask for the flagstick to be attended when playing from off the green.

However you may not ask for it to be adjusted so it is leaning in a particular direction.

It must be centred, removed or attended.

MARKING THE HOLE

If the ball comes to rest on the lip you are allowed enough time to reach the hole in reasonable time and can then wait another ten seconds to see if the ball will drop.

If you wait longer and it does drop, you are still deemed to have taken an extra shot to hole the ball.

If the ball is wedged against the flagstick when you arrive on the green, you are allowed to remove the pin to see if it drops.

If it doesn't, you must place the ball on the lip of the hole and putt out.

THE GRASS

You should always repair pitchmarks on the green, including those not made by you.

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However you are not allowed to repair any other damage, such as spike marks.

You should also be careful when touching the line of your putt.

You are only allowed to do so to measure which player is furthest from the hole or in the process of marking the ball.

You may also do so to repair pitchmarks or remove loose impediments, such as pine needles, leaves or sand.

You can only brush the things away and must not press anything down.

ETIQUETTE

  • Repair pitchmarks

  • No bags or trolleys

  • Attend your opponent's shot

  • Don't step on the line between your opponent's ball and the hole

  • Shake hands after the match

  • Mark cards on way to next tee not on green

  • Take care not to damage the hole when taking the flag from a hole and putting it back

  • Avoid scuffing your spikes on the green.



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