Friday, January 20, 2012

What to Know Before Picking Golf Ball on Green?

Golf is a gentleman's game meant to be played with proper etiquette and courtesy. Strict rules govern all aspects of golf, particularly when it comes to the ball that lands in certain playable areas of the course. Even balls that land on the green aren't immune. Golfers must take careful precautions when marking and picking up their ball to avoid incurring penalty strokes.
Golfers often need to pick up their ball from the green to clear a path to the hole for a competitor or to simply clean the ball, removing any dirt or grass that could cause an inconsistent roll. Picking up the ball allows the golfer to ensure that he eliminates potential problems with the ball's surface before putting again. Picking up the ball also prevents it from being an obstacle or a distraction to other golfers who still have to putt.
Golfers must mark the precise spot on the green from which they pick up their ball to ensure they return the ball to the exact same place without gaining an undeserved advantage. Coins or some form of thin plastic disc commonly serve as ball markers. Before picking up your ball, place the marker directly behind the ball on the opposite side of the hole. You never want to put your marker in front of the ball because it may create a subtle indentation in your putting line, causing your putt to go astray.
If your ball marker lies directly in front of your opponent, you may have to move the marker to the side to open a clear putting lane. Rules permit you to move the marker up to one club length away to either side, using a fixed point on the horizon to establish a straight line. Once the other player has putted, you must return your marker to its original spot, using your club and the same fixed landmark to ensure proper alignment.
If you fail to mark your ball before lifting it from the green, you'll incur a one-stroke penalty, according to the rules of the United States Golf Association. Failing to return your ball to the exact same spot marked also results in a one-stroke penalty. Once you've picked up your ball, make certain not to confuse it with another ball in your pocket or golf bag. Playing a different ball than the one originally marked results in a two-stroke penalty.

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