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Rules of Golf

The USGA, in conjunction with The R&A in St. Andrews, Scotland, writes, interprets and maintains the Rules of Golf to guard the tradition and integrity of the game.The two organizations are joint authors and owners of The Rules of Golf and Decisions on the Rules of Golf.Through an agreement with The R&A, the Rules jurisdiction of the USGA includes only the United States, its possessions and Mexico.The latest version went into effect Jan. 1, 2012, with the next revision taking effect Jan. 1, 2016.

Golf Rule 16 - The Putting Green

PUTTING GREEN: Definition-- all the ground of the hole being played which is prepared specifically for putting.

NOTE--the ball is considered on the green when any part of the ball touches it.

Line of Putt---the line the player wishes his ball to take after playing a stroke from putting green is called the line of putt. The line of putt does not extend past the hole, but does include a reasonable distance on either side of the line.

Touching the Line of Putt---results in a penalty of two-strokes in stroke play, and loss of hole in match play. The exceptions in which the player is not penalized for touching the line of putt: (a) to remove loose impediments including sand and loose soil by picking them up or with his hand or a club without pressing down anything down.(b) the club can be placed in front of the ball at address as long as the club is not pressed down.(c) when lifting his ball. (d) when measuring (example--determining order of play). (e) when repairing ball marks or old hole plugs. (f) when pressing down a ball-marker. (g)Holed---a ball is holed when all of it is below the level of the lip and it's at rest within the circumference of the hole. (h) when removing a movable obstruction such as a cigarette butt.

LIFTING BALL: it is permissable for the player to lift his ball from the putting green and clean it. He must first mark it's position, and replace it on the same spot.

REPAIR OF DAMAGE: even if the player's ball is not on the putting green, an old hole plug or damage to the green caused by the impact of a ball may be repaired. There is no penalty if the player's ball is moved in the process as long as the ball is replaced.
NOTE--the player must not repair any other damage if it can assist the player in subsequent play of the hole. PENALTY IS LOSS OF HOLE IN MATCH PLAY AND TWO-STROKE PENALTY IN STROKE PLAY.

TESTING THE SURFACE--the player must not test the surface of the putting green. PENALTY IS LOSS OF HOLE IN MATCH PLAY AND TWO-STROKE PENALTY IN STROKE PLAY.

STANCE--the player must not make a stroke on the putting green by standing behind the ball on an extension of the line off putt, or a stance astriding the ball. PENALTY IS LOSS OF HOLE IN MATCH PLAY AND TWO-STROKE PENALTY IN STROKE PLAY.

POSITIONING OF PARTNER OR CADDIE: while making a stroke from the putting green the player must not allow his partner and caddie to be positioned behind the player's ball on an extension of the line of putt.

PLAYING WHILE ANOTHER BALL IS IN MOTION: a player would be penalized if he plays a stroke while another ball is in motion made from a stroke on the putting green. PENALTY IS LOSS OF HOLE IN MATCH PLAY AND TWO-STROKE PENALTY IN STROKE PLAY.

BALL OVERHANGING HOLE: the player is allowed only enough time to reach the hole without delay plus an additional ten seconds to wait for his ball overhanging the hole to fall in. If it doesn't fall within that time, it's deemed to be at rest. If it falls into the hole after that time, the player will receive a one stroke penalty. For instance, if a player's ball is overhanging the hole in 3 strokes and falls in after the allotted time, the player scores a 4. If the ball falls in within the ten seconds, his score is a 3.