Rules Corner: What do I do if my ball is on the wrong putting green?

April 18, 2020

Good news! Your approach shot has found the green. The bad news is, it’s not the correct green, but rather the practice putting green.

Let’s face it, we’ve all hit errant shots from time to time. This one just happens to be particularly bad. But instead of compounding your embarrassment and not knowing what to do, approach the situation with conviction. And for some more good news, the ruling on this situation is a relatively simple one.

If your ball finds the wrong green (i.e. any green other than for the hole you’re playing), this is one of the few instances where you don’t have the option to play the ball as it lies (your greenskeeper will thank you). You are required to take free relief in this scenario, covered under Rule 13.1f.

“Interference under this Rule exists when your ball is on a wrong green or a wrong green physically interferes with your area of intended stance or area of intended swing. When there is interference by a wrong green, you must not play the ball as it lies. Instead, you must take free relief by dropping the original ball or another ball in the relief area as shown in Diagram 13.1f.”

USGA

Once you take this simple relief, compose yourself and knock the next one close. Just try to aim for the correct green this time.

READ MORE:
How do I proceed when searching for a lost ball?
What is opposite-side relief? Here’s why it matters.
Do you know the difference between an integral object and an immovable obstruction?
Is it permissible to check a bunker’s depth with a tee?
Are you entitled to free relief from a sandy cart path?

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