Golf Rules Pop Quiz: What Happens If You Accidentally Move Your Ball Marker?

Douglas Hanna

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Let's suppose you mark your ball on the green, tamp it down with your putter, walk to the edge of the green, look down and, oh my gosh! The ball marker has stuck to the sole of your putter. Or maybe you tamp down the marker with the sole of your putter, pull up your putter and the marker moves? What do you do?

A. You replace the marker but are assessed a one stroke penalty

B. You replace the marker and there is no penalty

C. You don't know exactly where the marker had been placed, so your place it as close as you can to where you think the marker was but no closer to the hole.

This is a tricky one because the answer is actually B. and C. This is because what the Rules of Golf says is “In this case, the movement of the ball-marker was directly attributable to the specific act of marking the ball. Accordingly, no penalty is incurred and the ball or the ball-marker must be replaced. If the spot where the ball or ball-marker lay is not known, it must be placed as near as possible to where it lay but not nearer the hole (Rule 20-3c). "

Golf is full of rules, some of which make sense and some of which leave you just scratching your head. However, if you want to be a good golfer and, especially if you carry a handicap or want to have a handicap, it is important that you know the rules.

If you do have a handicap and would like to reduce it or just play better golf - and have a great vacation - both at the same time, you just can't beat North or South Carolina. To learn more about golf schools in these two states, including their costs, just go to

Douglas Hanna is a retired marketing executive, an avid golfer, the author of numerous articles on HD radio, and the Internet and the publisher and webmaster of


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