Rules Guy: Is it legal to use my putter to mark my ball?

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What do the rules say about using your putter to mark your ball?

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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.

On the green, I rest my putter next to my ball with my left hand while adjusting the line on the ball itself with my right. Can I in fact legally use my putter to mark my ball during this adjustment? — Casper Ransborg, Denmark

Casper, you can.

Rule 14.1a gives you two ways to properly mark a golf ball: with a ball marker or holding a club on the ground next to the ball.

You could even hold the putter with your right hand and adjust the line on the ball with your left. Whatever makes you happy.

marking ball on green
Rules Guy: Is it legal to adjust the alignment of your ball after you pick up your mark?
By: Rules Guy

For more ball-marking guidance from our guru, read on …

A player was putting from the fairway onto the green and asked another player to move his ball marker one club length, as the marker was in his line. Is that permissible from off the green, and is there a limit as to the distance one must move a marker? — Paul Ivonye, Houston, Texas

It is indeed permissible, Paul. If a ball marker potentially interferes with a stroke from anywhere on the course, the player can ask for it to be moved.

Per Rule 15.3, there’s no specific limit or method for moving a ball marker — the only issues are that it be measured from its original spot and that the lifted ball is eventually replaced there. That answer is spot-on, trust us.

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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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