Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Pointing to the Line of Putt

Photo and text edited 09/07/15 to read "line for putting" and not "line of putt"
A few weeks ago, when I blogged about the Aimpoint green reading system, I commented on players walking on and close to their line of putt. This week, I want to highlight the fact that purposely touching the line of putt and pointing to the line of putt can both incur a penalty.

Most golfers are aware that they may not purposely touch their line of putt, but there are a number of exceptions in Rule 16-1a, which are listed below. Note that part of the Definition of Line of Putt states this includes a ‘reasonable distance on either side of the intended line’. However, fewer golfers seem aware that they must not touch anywhere on the surface of the putting green while pointing out a suggested line for putting, even if that point is way off the intended line, or is behind the hole. In the above photo, the player’s partner, or caddie has touched the end of the flagstick behind the hole in pointing out their suggested line for putting, so the player incurs a penalty of two strokes in stroke play, or loss of hole in match play under Rule 8-2b;

When the player's ball is on the putting green, the player, his partner or either of their caddies may, before but not during the stroke, point out a line for putting, but in so doing the putting green must not be touched. A mark must not be placed anywhere to indicate a line for putting.
So, it follows that in pointing out a line for putting, a player may not touch the putting surface with their finger, the toe of their shoe, their putter, the flagstick, or anything else. They may point to the suggested line, but they must not touch the surface of the putting green while doing so.

These are the exceptions listed in Rule 16-1a to the general principle that players may not touch their line of putt;

The line of putt must not be touched except:
(i) the player may remove loose impediments, provided he does not press anything down;
(ii) the player may place the club in front of the ball when addressing it, provided he does not press anything down;
(iii) in measuring - Rule 18-6;
(iv) in lifting or replacing the ball - Rule 16-1b;
(v) in pressing down a ball-marker;
(vi) in repairing old hole plugs or ball marks on the putting green - Rule 16-1c; and
(vii) in removing movable obstructions - Rule 24-1.
(Indicating line for putting on putting green - see Rule 8-2b)
Good golfing,

 


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8 comments:

Chris Melluish said...

I don't understand why 'pointing to the line of putt can incur a penalty', unless it is done during the stroke, which seems a bit pointless as it is too late anyway.

Anonymous said...

I don't belief that the dotted line in your diagram is a "line of putt". It certainly is a "line for putting". These are two separate things.

Barry Rhodes said...

Anonymous,

Of course you are correct. I have noe edited the photo text to match the content. Thanks for spotting this.

Barry

Barry Rhodes said...

Chris,

Rule 8-2b does not permit a mark to be placed anywhere to indicate a line for putting, so it follows that a caddie or fellow competitor may not achieve the same result by using the toe of their shoe or the end of a flagstick to point to the line.

Barry

Chris Melluish said...

Sorry, I don't understand. Why is pointing at something, without touching it, the same as touching it? Likewise, pointing at something is not the same as placing a mark.

Barry Rhodes said...

Chris,

You seem to have missed this part of the blog;

"However, fewer golfers seem aware that they must not touch anywhere on the surface of the putting green while pointing out a suggested line for putting,..."

Pointing to the line for putting without touching the putting green does not incur a penalty!

Barry

Les Buckley said...

Hi Barry

Def of Line of putt states the line does not extend beyond the hole, so the flag wouldnt be touching the line would it?

Les Adelaide

Barry Rhodes said...

Les,

There is a subtle difference between 'line of putt' and 'line for putting'. Re-read my blog and note that it is Rule 8-2b that prohibits a player from touching the putting green anywhere while pointing out a line for putting.

Barry