Do you have to mark your ball on the green when asked? Rules guy

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marker ball on the green

Are you required to mark your ball on the green when asked?

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The golf rules are difficult! Fortunately, we have the guru. Our Rules Guy knows the book from scratch. Do you have a question? He has all the answers.

Is it required to mark your ball when it is on the green, whether it is in the way of another player or not? Yesterday I was playing with our golf pro and he got so mad at another player because he did not feel his ball even though it was not in the pro line. The pro said all balls on the green should be marked… but my online research so far does not seem to support that. —Liz Grebler, via email

This pro does not sound like much of a human person – never mind that he is wrong or at least partially wrong.

According to Rule 15.3, a ball resting on the green may only be marked and lifted if it disturbs the game or assists another player; otherwise there is no requirement to do so.

Hand marking ball on green

Rules Guy: What happens if I accidentally move my ball marker on the green?


Rules guy

That said, a player can always request that you actually mark your ball (again, if it can reasonably be considered to disturb or assist on the green), in which case you must comply with the request (essentially make the request a requirement, but it sounds more polite the other way).

So yes, the professional can get everyone to mark his or her ball, but that’s not the same as declaring, “All balls on the green must be marked!” He may be better suited for a less customer-facing profession.

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Do you have a question about the rules? Ask Rules Guy! Send your questions, confusion and comments to We promise he will not throw the book after you.

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