Rules Guy: Can a caddie help you repair marks on the green?

caddie on green

What do the rules say about caddies repairing ball marks?

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The Rules of Golf are tricky! Thankfully, we’ve got the guru. Our Rules Guy knows the book front to back. Got a question? He’s got all the answers.

Can my caddie help repair ball marks or spike marks on my line on the green? —Fred D. Anderson, via email

First off, you should tip him or her generously at the completion of play for doing so.

And, yes, Rule 10.3b(1) specifies actions a caddie is always allowed to take, and such repair is indeed one such action.

Conversely, blaming your caddie for misreads is an action players are always allowed to take under golf’s unwritten rules, yet Rules Guy finds this beneath contempt.

For more caddie-related guidance from our guru, read on …

Can someone who has finished his round come back out and caddie for another player? It doesn’t seem right, but is it legal? —Dan Kelly, Hopkins, Minn.

Dan, you know the saying, “There’s an app for that”? Well, the USGA has an Interpretation for that, specifically, 10.3a/2.

To spare you the suspense…it’s entirely legal.

Rules Guy: Can a caddie use the shadow of the flagstick to help a player read a putt?
By: Rules Guy

On my home course, a friend and I are each playing a singles match in the same foursome against other opponents. If my friend labels me his caddie at the start of the round, can I give him advice during his match, even though I’m playing my own match concurrently? We will be riding, so I definitely won’t be carrying his clubs. —Kevin Woods, Belmont, Calif.

“Neither a borrower nor a lender be,” Polonius advises his son Laertes in Hamlet.

In his unpublished play Golf and the Man*, Shakespeare writes, “Either a golfer or a caddie be.” And as we know, the Bard knew his stuff, on and off the course.

Can you legally multitask as both competitor and looper? Verily, you cannot. The player would be penalized the general penalty under Rule 10.2a each time he asked your considered opinion.

Remember, “Always the wrong person gives you the right lesson in life.”**

* Please, scholars, save your letters and e-mails: This is pure malarkey.
** This is indeed Shakespeare.

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Got a question about the Rules? Ask the Rules Guy! Send your queries, confusions and comments to We promise he won’t throw the book at you.

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