Rule

13

Player's Edition
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Putting Greens
Player's Edition
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13.1
a
b
c
d
e
f
13.2
a
b
c
13.3
a
b
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Rule 12
Rule 14

Purpose: Rule 13 is a specific Rule for putting greens. Putting greens are specially prepared for playing your ball along the ground and there is a flagstick for the hole on each putting green, so certain different Rules apply than for other areas of the course.

13.1
Actions Allowed or Required on Putting Greens

Purpose: This Rule allows you to do things on the putting green that are normally not allowed off the putting green, such as being allowed to mark, lift, clean and replace your ball and to repair damage and remove sand and loose soil on the putting green. There is no penalty for accidentally causing your ball or ball-marker to move on the putting green.

a
When Your Ball Is on Putting Green

Your ball is on the putting green when any part of it:

  • Touches the putting green, or
  • Lies on or in anything (such as a loose impediment or an obstruction) and is inside the edge of the putting green.
b
Marking, Lifting and Cleaning Your Ball on Putting Green

Your ball on the putting green may be lifted and cleaned. The spot of your ball must be marked before it is lifted and the ball must be replaced.

c
Improvements Allowed on Putting Green

During a round, you may take these two actions on the putting green, no matter whether your ball is on or off the putting green:

  • Sand and loose soil on the putting green (but not anywhere else on the course) may be removed without penalty.
  • You may repair damage on the putting green without penalty by taking reasonable actions to restore the putting green as nearly as possible to its original condition, but only:
    • By using your hand, foot or other part of your body or a normal ball-mark repair tool, tee, club or similar item of normal equipment, and
    • Without unreasonably delaying play.

But if you improve the putting green by taking actions that exceed what is reasonable to restore the putting green to its original condition, you get the general penalty.

"Damage on the putting green" means any damage caused by a person or outside influence, such as:

  • Ball marks, shoe damage (such as spike marks) and scrapes or indentations caused by equipment or a flagstick,
  • Old hole plugs, turf plugs, seams of cut turf and scrapes or indentations from maintenance tools or vehicles,
  • Animal tracks or hoof indentations, and
  • Embedded objects (such as a stone, acorn or tee).

But "damage on the putting green" does not include any damage or conditions that result from:

  • Normal practices for maintaining the overall condition of the putting green (such as aeration holes and grooves from vertical mowing),
  • Irrigation or rain or other natural forces,
  • Natural surface imperfections (such as weeds, bare or diseased areas or areas of uneven growth), or
  • Natural wear of the hole.
d
When Your Ball or Ball-Marker Moves on Putting Green

There is no penalty if you, your opponent or another player in stroke play accidentally move your ball or ball-marker on the putting green.

You must replace your ball on its original spot (which if not known must be estimated) or place a ball-marker to mark that original spot.

Exception - Your Ball Must Be Played as It Lies When It Begins to Move During Your Backswing or Stroke and the Stroke Is Made.

If natural forces cause your ball on the putting green to move, where you must play from next depends on whether your ball had already been lifted and replaced on its original spot:

  • Ball already lifted and replaced - Your ball must be replaced on its original spot (which if not known must be estimated).
  • Ball not already lifted and replaced - The ball must be played from its new spot.
e
No Deliberate Testing of Greens

If, during a round, you deliberately rub the surface or roll a ball to test the putting green or a wrong green, you get the general penalty.

Exception - Testing Green of Hole Just Completed or Practice Green When between Two Holes is Allowed.

f
Relief Must Be Taken from Wrong Green

Interference under this Rule exists when your ball is on a wrong green or a wrong green physically interferes with your area of intended stance or area of intended swing.

When there is interference by a wrong green, you must not play the ball as it lies. Instead, you must take free relief by dropping the original ball or another ball in the relief area as shown in Diagram 13.1f.

There is no relief under this Rule if interference exists only because you choose a club, type of stance or swing or direction of play that is clearly unreasonable under the circumstances.

When there is interference by a wrong green, free relief must be taken. The diagram assumes a right-handed player. Ball A lies on the wrong green, and the nearest point of complete relief for Ball A is at P1, which must be in the same area of the course where the original ball came to rest (in this case, the general area).

Reference Point: The nearest point of complete relief (P1).

Size of Relief Area: One club-length from the reference point.

Limits on Relief Area: The relief area:

  • Must not be nearer the hole than the reference point, and
  • Must be in the same area of the course as the reference point.

Player Notes: You must take complete relief from all interference by the wrong green.

Penalty for Playing Incorrectly Substituted Ball or Playing Ball from a Wrong Place in Breach of Rule 13.1: General Penalty.

13.2
The Flagstick

Purpose: This Rule covers your choices for dealing with the flagstick. You may leave the flagstick in the hole or have it removed (which includes having someone attend the flagstick and remove it after your ball is played), but you must decide before making a stroke. There is normally no penalty if a ball in motion hits the flagstick.

This Rule applies to a ball played from anywhere on the course, whether on or off the putting green.

a
Leaving Flagstick in Hole

If you make a stroke with the flagstick left in the hole and the ball in motion then hits the flagstick there is no penalty, and the ball must be played as it lies.

The decision to have the flagstick in the hole must be made before your stroke, by either leaving the flagstick in the hole or having a removed flagstick put back.

In either case, you must not try to gain an advantage by deliberately moving the flagstick to a position other than centred in the hole. If you do so and the ball in motion then hits the flagstick, you get the general penalty.

See Full Rules For information on moving or removing a flagstick left in the hole while a ball is in motion.

b
Removing Flagstick from Hole

You may make a stroke with the flagstick removed from the hole, so that your ball in motion will not hit the flagstick in the hole.

You must decide this before making the stroke, by either having the flagstick removed from the hole before playing your ball, or authorizing someone to attend the flagstick.

See Full Rules For situations where you are treated as having authorized the flagstick to be attended and for more information on what to do if your ball hits the flagstick or person who removed or is attending it.

c
Ball Resting against Flagstick in Hole

If your ball comes to rest against the flagstick left in the hole, and any part of your ball is in the hole below the surface of the putting green, your ball is treated as holed.

If no part of your ball is in the hole below the surface of the putting green:

  • Your ball is not holed and must be played as it lies.
  • If the flagstick is removed and your ball moves (whether it falls into the hole or moves away from the hole), there is no penalty and it must be replaced on the lip of the hole.

Penalty for Playing Incorrectly Substituted Ball or Playing Ball from a Wrong Place in Breach of Rule 13.2c: General Penalty.

13.3
Ball Overhanging Hole
a
Waiting Time to See If Your Ball Overhanging Hole Will Fall into Hole

If any part of your ball overhangs the lip of the hole, you are allowed a reasonable time to reach the hole and ten more seconds to wait to see whether your ball will fall into the hole.

If your ball falls into the hole in this waiting time, you have holed out with the previous stroke.

If your ball does not fall into the hole in this waiting time:

  • Your ball is treated as being at rest.
  • If your ball then falls into the hole before it is played, you have holed out with the previous stroke, but get one penalty stroke added to your score for the hole.
b
What to Do If Your Ball Overhanging Hole Is Lifted or Moved Before Waiting Time Has Ended

See Full Rules For information on what to do if your ball overhanging the hole is lifted or moved before the 10-second waiting time has ended.

Putting Green

The area on the hole you are playing that is specially prepared for putting, or the Committee has defined as the putting green (such as when a temporary green is used).

Putting Green

The area on the hole you are playing that is specially prepared for putting, or the Committee has defined as the putting green (such as when a temporary green is used).

Loose Impediment

Any unattached natural object such as:

  • Stones, loose grass, leaves, branches and sticks,
  • Dead animals and animal waste,
  • Worms, insects and similar animals that can be removed easily, and the mounds or webs they build (such as worm casts and ant hills), and
  • Clumps of compacted soil (including aeration plugs).

Such natural objects are not loose if they are:

  • Attached or growing,
  • Solidly embedded in the ground (that is, cannot be picked out easily), or
  • Sticking to the ball.

Special cases:

  • Sand and loose soil are not loose impediments.
  • Dew, frost and water are not loose impediments.
  • Snow and natural ice (other than frost) are either loose impediments or, when on the ground, temporary water, at your option.
  • Spider webs are loose impediments even though they are attached to another object.
Obstruction

(see also immovable and movable obstruction): Any artificial object except for integral objects and boundary objects.

Examples of obstructions:

  • Artificially surfaced roads and paths, including their artificial borders.
  • Buildings and vehicles.
  • Sprinkler heads, drains and irrigation or control boxes.
  • Player equipment, flagsticks and rakes.
Putting Green

The area on the hole you are playing that is specially prepared for putting, or the Committee has defined as the putting green (such as when a temporary green is used).

Putting Green

The area on the hole you are playing that is specially prepared for putting, or the Committee has defined as the putting green (such as when a temporary green is used).

Mark

To show the spot where a ball is at rest by either placing a ball-marker right behind or right next to the ball, or holding a club on the ground right behind or right next to the ball.

Replace

To place a ball by setting it down and letting it go, with the intent for it to be in play.

Round

18 or fewer holes played in the order set by the Committee.

Round

18 or fewer holes played in the order set by the Committee.

Putting Green

The area on the hole you are playing that is specially prepared for putting, or the Committee has defined as the putting green (such as when a temporary green is used).

Putting Green

The area on the hole you are playing that is specially prepared for putting, or the Committee has defined as the putting green (such as when a temporary green is used).

Putting Green

The area on the hole you are playing that is specially prepared for putting, or the Committee has defined as the putting green (such as when a temporary green is used).

Course

The entire area of play within the edge of any boundaries set by the Committee. The boundary edge extends both up above the ground and down below the ground.

Putting Green

The area on the hole you are playing that is specially prepared for putting, or the Committee has defined as the putting green (such as when a temporary green is used).

Putting Green

The area on the hole you are playing that is specially prepared for putting, or the Committee has defined as the putting green (such as when a temporary green is used).

Tee

An object used to raise your ball above the ground to play it from the teeing area. It must be no longer than four inches (101.6 mm) and conform with the Equipment Rules.

Equipment

Anything used, worn, held or carried by you or your caddie. Objects used for the care of the course, such as rakes, are equipment only while they are being held or carried by you or your caddie.

Improve

To alter one or more of the conditions affecting your stroke or other physical conditions affecting your play so that you gain a potential advantage for your stroke.

Putting Green

The area on the hole you are playing that is specially prepared for putting, or the Committee has defined as the putting green (such as when a temporary green is used).

Putting Green

The area on the hole you are playing that is specially prepared for putting, or the Committee has defined as the putting green (such as when a temporary green is used).

General Penalty

Loss of hole in match play or two penalty strokes in stroke play.

Putting Green

The area on the hole you are playing that is specially prepared for putting, or the Committee has defined as the putting green (such as when a temporary green is used).

Outside Influence

Any of these people or things that can affect what happens to your ball or equipment or to the course:

  • Any person (including another player), except you or your caddie or your partner or opponent or any of their caddies,
  • Any animal, and
  • Any natural or artificial object or anything else (including another ball in motion), except for natural forces.
Equipment

Anything used, worn, held or carried by you or your caddie. Objects used for the care of the course, such as rakes, are equipment only while they are being held or carried by you or your caddie.

Flagstick

A movable pole provided by the Committee that is placed in the hole to show you where the hole is.

Hole

The finishing point on the putting green for the hole you are playing.

Animal

Any living member of the animal kingdom (other than humans).

Tee

An object used to raise your ball above the ground to play it from the teeing area. It must be no longer than four inches (101.6 mm) and conform with the Equipment Rules.

Putting Green

The area on the hole you are playing that is specially prepared for putting, or the Committee has defined as the putting green (such as when a temporary green is used).

Putting Green

The area on the hole you are playing that is specially prepared for putting, or the Committee has defined as the putting green (such as when a temporary green is used).

Natural Forces

The effects of nature such as wind, water or when something happens for no apparent reason because of the effects of gravity.

Hole

The finishing point on the putting green for the hole you are playing.

Opponent

The person you compete against in a match. The term opponent applies only in match play.

Stroke Play

A form of play where you or your side competes against all other players or sides in the competition.

Moved

When your ball at rest has left its original spot and come to rest on any other spot, and this can be seen by the naked eye (whether or not anyone actually sees it do so).

This applies whether your ball has gone up, down or horizontally in any direction away from its original spot.

If your ball only wobbles (sometimes referred to as oscillating) and stays on or returns to its original spot, your ball has not moved.

Ball-Marker

An artificial object when used to mark the spot of your ball to be lifted, such as a tee, a coin, an object made to be a ball-marker or another small piece of equipment.

Putting Green

The area on the hole you are playing that is specially prepared for putting, or the Committee has defined as the putting green (such as when a temporary green is used).

Replace

To place a ball by setting it down and letting it go, with the intent for it to be in play.

Ball-Marker

An artificial object when used to mark the spot of your ball to be lifted, such as a tee, a coin, an object made to be a ball-marker or another small piece of equipment.

Mark

To show the spot where a ball is at rest by either placing a ball-marker right behind or right next to the ball, or holding a club on the ground right behind or right next to the ball.

Natural Forces

The effects of nature such as wind, water or when something happens for no apparent reason because of the effects of gravity.

Putting Green

The area on the hole you are playing that is specially prepared for putting, or the Committee has defined as the putting green (such as when a temporary green is used).

Moved

When your ball at rest has left its original spot and come to rest on any other spot, and this can be seen by the naked eye (whether or not anyone actually sees it do so).

This applies whether your ball has gone up, down or horizontally in any direction away from its original spot.

If your ball only wobbles (sometimes referred to as oscillating) and stays on or returns to its original spot, your ball has not moved.

Replace

To place a ball by setting it down and letting it go, with the intent for it to be in play.

Replace

To place a ball by setting it down and letting it go, with the intent for it to be in play.

Replace

To place a ball by setting it down and letting it go, with the intent for it to be in play.

Replace

To place a ball by setting it down and letting it go, with the intent for it to be in play.

Round

18 or fewer holes played in the order set by the Committee.

Putting Green

The area on the hole you are playing that is specially prepared for putting, or the Committee has defined as the putting green (such as when a temporary green is used).

Wrong Green

Any green on the course other than the putting green for the hole you are playing. Wrong greens are part of the general area.

General Penalty

Loss of hole in match play or two penalty strokes in stroke play.

Wrong Green

Any green on the course other than the putting green for the hole you are playing. Wrong greens are part of the general area.

Wrong Green

Any green on the course other than the putting green for the hole you are playing. Wrong greens are part of the general area.

Stance

The position of your feet and body in preparing for and making your stroke.

Wrong Green

Any green on the course other than the putting green for the hole you are playing. Wrong greens are part of the general area.

Drop

To hold the ball and let go of it so that it falls through the air, with the intent for the ball to be in play. Each relief Rule identifies a specific relief area where your ball must be dropped and come to rest.

In taking relief, you must let go of the ball from a location at knee height so that the ball:

  • Falls straight down, without you throwing, spinning or rolling it or using any other motion that might affect where the ball will come to rest, and
  • Does not touch any part of your body or equipment before it hits the ground (see Rule 14.3b).
Relief Area

The area where you must drop a ball when taking relief under a Rule. Each relief Rule requires you to use a specific relief area whose size and location are based on these three factors:

  • Reference Point: The point from which the size of relief area is measured.
  • Size of Relief Area Measured from Reference Point: The relief area is either one or two club-lengths from the reference point, but with certain limits:
  • Limits on Location of Relief Area: The location of the relief area may be limited in one or more ways so that, for example:
    • It is only in certain defined areas of the course, such as only in the general area, or not in a bunker or a penalty area,
    • It is not nearer the hole than your reference point or must be outside a penalty area or a bunker from which you are taking relief, or
    • It is where there is no interference (as defined in the particular Rule) from the condition from which you are taking relief.
Stance

The position of your feet and body in preparing for and making your stroke.

Substitute

To change the ball you are using to play a hole by having another ball become your ball in play.

Wrong Place

Any place on the course other than where you are required or allowed to play your ball under the Rules.

General Penalty

Loss of hole in match play or two penalty strokes in stroke play.

Course

The entire area of play within the edge of any boundaries set by the Committee. The boundary edge extends both up above the ground and down below the ground.

Putting Green

The area on the hole you are playing that is specially prepared for putting, or the Committee has defined as the putting green (such as when a temporary green is used).

Stroke

The forward movement of your club made to strike the ball.

Flagstick

A movable pole provided by the Committee that is placed in the hole to show you where the hole is.

Hole

The finishing point on the putting green for the hole you are playing.

Flagstick

A movable pole provided by the Committee that is placed in the hole to show you where the hole is.

Flagstick

A movable pole provided by the Committee that is placed in the hole to show you where the hole is.

Hole

The finishing point on the putting green for the hole you are playing.

Stroke

The forward movement of your club made to strike the ball.

Flagstick

A movable pole provided by the Committee that is placed in the hole to show you where the hole is.

Flagstick

A movable pole provided by the Committee that is placed in the hole to show you where the hole is.

Flagstick

A movable pole provided by the Committee that is placed in the hole to show you where the hole is.

Hole

The finishing point on the putting green for the hole you are playing.

Flagstick

A movable pole provided by the Committee that is placed in the hole to show you where the hole is.

General Penalty

Loss of hole in match play or two penalty strokes in stroke play.

Stroke

The forward movement of your club made to strike the ball.

Flagstick

A movable pole provided by the Committee that is placed in the hole to show you where the hole is.

Hole

The finishing point on the putting green for the hole you are playing.

Flagstick

A movable pole provided by the Committee that is placed in the hole to show you where the hole is.

Hole

The finishing point on the putting green for the hole you are playing.

Stroke

The forward movement of your club made to strike the ball.

Flagstick

A movable pole provided by the Committee that is placed in the hole to show you where the hole is.

Hole

The finishing point on the putting green for the hole you are playing.

Flagstick

A movable pole provided by the Committee that is placed in the hole to show you where the hole is.

Flagstick

A movable pole provided by the Committee that is placed in the hole to show you where the hole is.

Hole

The finishing point on the putting green for the hole you are playing.

Hole

The finishing point on the putting green for the hole you are playing.

Putting Green

The area on the hole you are playing that is specially prepared for putting, or the Committee has defined as the putting green (such as when a temporary green is used).

Holed

When your ball is at rest in the hole after your stroke and the entire ball is below the surface of the putting green. When the Rules refer to "holing out"or "hole out", it means when your ball is holed.

For the special case of a ball resting against the flagstick in the hole, see Rule 13.2c (your ball is treated as holed if any part of your ball is below the surface of the putting green).

Hole

The finishing point on the putting green for the hole you are playing.

Putting Green

The area on the hole you are playing that is specially prepared for putting, or the Committee has defined as the putting green (such as when a temporary green is used).

Holed

When your ball is at rest in the hole after your stroke and the entire ball is below the surface of the putting green. When the Rules refer to "holing out"or "hole out", it means when your ball is holed.

For the special case of a ball resting against the flagstick in the hole, see Rule 13.2c (your ball is treated as holed if any part of your ball is below the surface of the putting green).

Flagstick

A movable pole provided by the Committee that is placed in the hole to show you where the hole is.

Moved

When your ball at rest has left its original spot and come to rest on any other spot, and this can be seen by the naked eye (whether or not anyone actually sees it do so).

This applies whether your ball has gone up, down or horizontally in any direction away from its original spot.

If your ball only wobbles (sometimes referred to as oscillating) and stays on or returns to its original spot, your ball has not moved.

Hole

The finishing point on the putting green for the hole you are playing.

Hole

The finishing point on the putting green for the hole you are playing.

Replace

To place a ball by setting it down and letting it go, with the intent for it to be in play.

Hole

The finishing point on the putting green for the hole you are playing.

Substitute

To change the ball you are using to play a hole by having another ball become your ball in play.

Wrong Place

Any place on the course other than where you are required or allowed to play your ball under the Rules.

General Penalty

Loss of hole in match play or two penalty strokes in stroke play.

Hole

The finishing point on the putting green for the hole you are playing.

Hole

The finishing point on the putting green for the hole you are playing.

Hole

The finishing point on the putting green for the hole you are playing.

Hole

The finishing point on the putting green for the hole you are playing.

Holed

When your ball is at rest in the hole after your stroke and the entire ball is below the surface of the putting green. When the Rules refer to "holing out"or "hole out", it means when your ball is holed.

For the special case of a ball resting against the flagstick in the hole, see Rule 13.2c (your ball is treated as holed if any part of your ball is below the surface of the putting green).

Stroke

The forward movement of your club made to strike the ball.

Hole

The finishing point on the putting green for the hole you are playing.

Hole

The finishing point on the putting green for the hole you are playing.

Holed

When your ball is at rest in the hole after your stroke and the entire ball is below the surface of the putting green. When the Rules refer to "holing out"or "hole out", it means when your ball is holed.

For the special case of a ball resting against the flagstick in the hole, see Rule 13.2c (your ball is treated as holed if any part of your ball is below the surface of the putting green).

Stroke

The forward movement of your club made to strike the ball.