Rules Guy: Is it a penalty if your unrepaired ball mark helps you hole your putt?

ball mark on green

What happens if your choose not to repair your ball mark, and it affects your next putt?

Getty Images

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.

My pal’s approach shot landed a foot short and right of the hole and spun back to 10 feet. It left a big pitch mark, which he didn’t repair. Naturally, he pushed his putt off line, and the mark rerouted his ball into the cup. Unfair! Do the Rules require you to repair a ball mark? —Kevin McNees, via email 

golfer slamming club
Rules Guy: Is it a penalty to hit the sand in anger after a poor bunker shot?
By: Rules Guy

If this were the basketball shooting game H-O-R-S-E (yes, RG knows his hoops, too), this player would have been required to call “bank” beforehand for the shot to count.

Alas, not so in golf. While repairing a pitch mark is obviously encouraged behavior, and anyone can repair anyone else’s pitch mark on the putting green, your playing partner was simply playing the course as he found it. As they also say on the hardwood, “No harm, no foul.”

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.

generic profile image