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Rules Corner: Are you allowed to putt on a practice green during a round?

February 27, 2020

While most courses position their practice greens near the clubhouse, or adjacent to the 1st or 10th tee, there are some courses that have practice putting areas that are located on the actual course. So if you encounter a delay on a tee or just feel the need to stroke a few putts after a series of bad holes, are you allowed to use these greens in the midst of a round?

In a word: yes. Whether you’re playing match play or stroke play, according to the Rules, a player is allowed to use a practice putting green during a round as long as it is positioned between two holes and the player doesn’t unreasonably delay play by doing so. If the course you’re playing doesn’t have any practice greens, the Rules also allow you to practice putting on the green of the hole you just completed — again, as long as it doesn’t cause an unreasonable delay for your group or the players behind you.

One caveat: At some courses, a local rule prohibiting players from taking practice putts on a green where they just completed play is in effect, so make sure you check before you tee off!

Looking for more information on the Rules of Golf? Visit usga.org/rules, or, if you have a question of your own, you can submit it to Rules Guy, our resident expert, at rulesguy@golf.com. The answer may be featured in an upcoming issue of GOLF Magazine.

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