Rules Guy: Is asking whether or not to move a mark considered advice?

March 8, 2019

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.

A member at a club where I recently worked was advised that she couldn’t ask a match-play opponent, “Would you like me to move my mark?” because such an act of politeness could perhaps be interpreted as an indication of the line of putt. In fact, the opponent insisted that the member concede the hole for providing advice on the line. Please, please tell me this isn’t an infraction. —ANDY BOONE, DELAWARE, ONT.

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If Canadians can’t be polite without being penalized, what the heck is this world coming to? Thankfully, simple questions don’t count as giving advice, and this courteous competitor from the Great White North is in the clear.

Had she instead said, “You should be aiming two inches outside the hole to the left, so I’ll move my mark,” we might have a different story on our hands. But we don’t. We have civility. Let’s all stand on guard for it, eh?

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