Marking and Lifting a Ball

Marking and Lifting a Ball

Hope you are all keeping safe and looking forward to the day playing golf can return, in one form or another.

Following my last post, concerning Winter Golf, an interesting observation was made by a follower of My Golf Blog:

‘I can’t see in model local rule E-3 any recommendation to mark the ball’.

Previously up to December 3st 2018, the Local Rule for Preferred Lies included the words:

‘Before lifting the ball, the player must mark its position’.

In the 2019 Rules of Golf this wording was removed, so removing the requirement to mark a ball if taking relief when a Local Rule for Preferred Lies has been adopted.

The Previous Rules of Golf always stated that the position of a ball must be marked before it is lifted under a Rule that requires it to be replaced.

But, what many of you may not have known was that there was never any requirement to mark the position of a ball that was to be lifted and placed or dropped when taking relief under a Rule of Golf.

There was always confusion over this, especially given the wording of the ‘old’ Preferred Lie local rule which conflicted with the Rules of Golf (old Rule 20.1)

The position with Marking and Lifting a ball has now been clarified with the wording of Rules of Golf 14.1.

14.1 – Marking, Lifting and Cleaning Ball

This Rule applies to the deliberate “lifting” of a player’s ball at rest, which includes picking up the ball by hand, rotating it or otherwise deliberately causing it to move from its spot.

a Spot of Ball to Be Lifted and Replaced Must Be Marked

Before lifting a ball under a Rule requiring the ball to be replaced on its original spot, the player must mark the spot which means to:

  • Place a ball-marker right behind or right next to the ball, or
  • Hold a club on the ground right behind or right next to the ball.

If the spot is marked with a ball-marker, after replacing the ball the player must remove the ball-marker before making a stroke (otherwise the player gets one penalty stroke – my wording).

If the player lifts the ball without marking its spot, marks its spot in a wrong way or makes a stroke with a ball-marker left in place, the player gets one penalty stroke.

If multiple Rule breaches result from a single act or related acts, see Rule 1.3c(4).

When a ball is lifted to take relief under a Rule, the player is not required to mark the spot before lifting the ball.

You can read more by clicking on the link below:

Procedures for Ball: Marking, Lifting and Cleaning; Replacing on Spot; Dropping in Relief Area; Playing from Wrong Place (

Keep safe and well

Best wishes



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