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Status of ball on putting green—Part 1

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In a previous article, I confirmed that when a ball is moved by wind, the player must play the ball from where it comes to rest, even if their ball-marker still marks its original position, because wind is not an outside agency.

Also, I have previously clarified that a player is not penalised if they forget to remove their ball-marker before making a putt, providing they are not using the marker to assist their line of putt.

This is because part of Rule 8-2b states;

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A mark must not be placed anywhere for the purpose of indicating a line of putt.

Another often asked question concerns the status of a ball that is on a putting green against the ball-marker that marked its position. Part of Rule 16-1b states;

A ball on the putting green may be lifted and, if desired, cleaned. The position of the ball must be marked before it is lifted and the ball must be replaced (see Rule 20- 1).

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The question that some players have is whether a ball that has been replaced at the ball-marker is in play even if the ball-marker has not been removed. The short answer is that it is. There is no restriction as to how many times a player may mark, lift, clean and replace their ball on a putting green.

So, when a ball is replaced at a ball-marker it is in play, even if the ball-marker is not removed, but as soon as the player touches it again, perhaps to align it, it is out of play and as soon as they let go of it, at rest against the ball-marker, it is back in play, etc.. Whether the ball marker is removed or not is not relevant to whether the ball is in play.

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