RULE: Spike Marks on Green

The one Rule of Golf most Professional Golfers have long advocated for change is to press down spike marks on the line of putt on the green. You are allowed to move loose impediments, repair old hole plugs or ball pitch marks and remove sand on the green –so ...
# Can I press down a spike mark on my line of putt?
#  Can a mate do it for me?
#  What if he stands on my line and damages my line when he gets his ball from the hole? 

Rule 13.1c (Improvements allowed on Putting Greens) says:

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.
The rule goes on to further clarify what damage is - "Damage on the green means damage caused by a person or outside influence." The 'new' rules now includes shoe damage such as spike marks, as well as all those previously allowed.

OK- there is a tuft of grass caused by a golfers spike sticking up on your line of putt – so now you may press it down without incurring a penalty under Rule 13.1c .

But a fellow competitor has putted out – can he press the tuft down for me? I often see this done – “I have finished the hole – I can fix it for you.”

Under previous rules, No - very naughty! But the 'new' rules, under Rule 13.1c #2," a player 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 his or her hand or foot or other part of the body,or a normal ball mark repair tool, tee, club or similar item of normal equipment, and
  • without unreasonably delaying play."
Now if one of your playing group has putted out before you, stood on your line, and in retrieving his/her ball from the hole damaged your line of putt (twists the foot, drags a spike across your line, etc), then you are entitled to make repairs - "....restore the putting green as nearly as possible to its original condition..."

In summary:

You can repair a spike mark on your line of putt.
A fellow competitor can repair a spike mark on your line of putt.

 

 

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