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How to Mark a Golf Ball on the Putting Green

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Using Your Ball Marker
Placing ball marker behind golf ball on putting green prior to lifting ball

A golfer places his ball marker behind the golf ball on the putting green prior to picking up the ball.

Streeter Lecka / Getty Images
The phrase "marking your ball" can refer to writing or drawing something on the golf ball for identification purposes, or it can refer to placing a ball marker on the ground to mark the ball's position while you lift the golf ball. It's meaning No. 2 that we are concerned with here - specifically, marking the golf ball on the putting green.

Unlike other areas of the golf course, on the putting green you can lift your ball for any reason. But you must always mark the ball's position when doing so. Some reasons to lift a ball when on the putting green:

  • a) When you want to clean the ball;
  • b) When you want to align the ball's graphics with your putting line;
  • c) When you believe your golf ball might be in the way of another player, or a distraction to another player;
  • d) When another player asks you to do so.

Marking the golf ball on the putting green is a common occurrence. So you better know the correct procedure.

Step 1
Place a small coin (or similar ball marker) directly behind your golf ball on the putting green.

Step 2
Pick up your golf ball. Important: Make sure your ball marker is on the ground before lifting the ball. Never lift the ball and then place a marker where the ball was. Place marker first, lift ball second!

Step 3
When ready to replace your golf ball on the ground, put it back on the green directly in front of your ball marker.

Step 4
Pick up your ball marker. As with Step 2, make sure you do Step 4 in the proper order. Which is: Place ball back on ground, then lift your ball marker.

And that's it. Pretty simple, eh?

Next Page: Things to remember about rules and etiquette when marking the ball

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