It's Not Easy Being (on the) Green | Oregon Golf Association

It's Not Easy Being (on the) Green

Parts of the Course:  The Putting Green

OGA Senior Rules Officials: Pete Scholz and Terry McEvilly

The time has come to put an end to our series on the parts of the course.  Since we began on the teeing ground, it’s only fitting to conclude with a look at the putting green.  Often, penalties are incurred on the putting green simply because procedures are different than the rest of the golf course.  Test your knowledge of the putting green with the following questions and remember that knowing and playing by the Rules will always add enjoyment to your game.

Questions:  True/False

  1. The entire ball must be on the putting green for it to be considered on the green.
  2. If a putting green has a second hole cut for play of the back nine, the second hole is considered ground under repair during play of the front nine.
  3. Spike marks may be tapped down if they interfere on the line of putt.
  4. A player may always mark and lift his ball on the putting green.
  5. If a ball is on a wrong putting green, it must not be played as it lies.
  6. A player lifts a leaf next to his ball on the putting green and accidentally causes the ball to move.  There is always a penalty for moving his ball in play other than by a stroke.
  7. After a heavy rain, casual water on the putting green intervenes on a player’s line of putt.  She may remove the water prior to putting.
  8. Damage caused by the impact of a ball on the putting green has been repaired by the player.  Under the Rules, the damage may not be further repaired by a following player.
  9. Between the play of two holes, a player may make practice putts on any putting green already played and any practice putting green.
  10. When the ball overhangs the lip of the hole, the player is given enough time to reach the hole without unreasonable delay and an additional ten seconds to determine if the ball is at rest.  If the ball falls into the hole after the expiration of the ten seconds, there is a one-stroke penalty and the ball is considered holed.


  1. False.  According to the definition of “putting green”, if any part of the ball touches the putting green, the ball is on the putting green.
  2. True.  If the player’s ball lies on the putting green, relief under Rule 25-1 is available for intervention on the line of putt.  Otherwise, (i.e., ball is not on the green) there is no relief without penalty for the line of play. 
  3. False.  Only old hole plugs and damage caused by the impact of the ball may be repaired on the line of putt (Rule 16-1c).  However, as a courtesy to following players and to practice good course etiquette, spike marks and any other damage to the putting green should be repaired after completing the hole.
  4. False.  Rule 16-1b states that when another ball is in motion, a ball that might influence the movement of the ball in motion must not be lifted.  In other words, if another ball is rolling towards your ball at rest on the green, quickly marking and lifting your ball will result in a penalty. 
  5. True.  When a ball lies on any putting green, other than the putting green of the hole being played, it must not be played as it lies.  Under Rule 25-3 (Wrong Putting Green) relief is mandatory.
  6. False.  When a ball is on the green and the player accidentally moves the ball when lifting a loose impediment there is no penalty provided the movement of the ball is directly attributable to the removal of the loose impediment.  See Rule 23-1.
  7. False.  Under Rule 25-1, the player is allowed relief without penalty, but she may not remove the water.  Doing so would breach Rule 16-1a (Touching Line of Putt) or Rule 13-2 for removing water on her line of play.
  8. False.  Damage caused by the impact of a golf ball may be repaired as many times as necessary.  However, the damage must still be clearly identifiable as a ball mark.  See Rule 16-1c and Decision 16-1c/1.
  9. False.  Between the play of two holes, a player may make practice putts on any practice putting green and the putting green of the hole last played, unless prohibited by a Local Rule.  Practice on putting greens of other holes previously played, i.e., other than the last hole, is prohibited.  Additionally, the practice must not delay play of any other player.  See Rule 7-2.
  10. True.  This applies to a stroke from anywhere on the course.  If the ball falls prior to the ten seconds elapsing, the player has holed out with his last stroke with no penalty.  However, if the player reaches the hole and after ten seconds the ball falls, he is deemed to have holed out with his last stroke but must add a penalty stroke.  See Rule 16-2.

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Previous entries in the Parts of the Course series are:  Part I "Throught The Green"   |   Part II "Bunkers"   |  Part III "Water Hazards"

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