But can you take this practice drill from the driving range onto the golf course? Can a golfer use golf clubs (or other items) to help align himself for a stroke during a round of golf?
The rule that addresses this situation is Rule 8-2, Indicating Line of Play. Rule 8-2a addresses this question for all situations "Other Than on Putting Green"; Rule 8-2b addresses the question for "On the Putting Green."
On the putting green, the answer is a quick "no." The player, his partner or either of their caddies are allowed to point out the putting line prior to - but not during - the stroke; however, they are not allowed to touch the green in so doing, and no marks or aids of any kind can be placed on the green (whether prior to the stroke or during the putting stroke).
The rules do allow some leeway when off the green, however. Rule 8-2a grants a player permission to place a mark or aid to indicate the line of play (e.g., placing clubs on the ground to align yourself for the shot) prior to playing the stroke. However, the item(s) being used to indicate the line of play must be removed before the stroke is actually played.
Decision 8-2a/1 directly addresses this situation, making the ruling perfectly clear (excerpted from the Rules & Decisions portion of the USGA Web site):
8-2a/1 - Club Placed on Ground to Align Feet
Q. A player places a club on the ground parallel to the line of play to assist him in aligning his feet properly. Is this permissible?
A. Yes, provided the player removes the club before playing his stroke. Otherwise, a breach of Rule 8-2a would occur.
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