What you can and can’t do on your putting line

You’re on the green, standing over an important putt, but there’s a small twig between your ball and the hole. Can you move it?

What about an insect that decides to take a stroll along your putting line?

The issue of what you can and can’t touch on the putting green can be a confusing one, which is why we’ve produced this handy list to help you remember!


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 You can remove…

Loose impediments: Leaves, twigs, sand or cigarette butts can be removed provided you do not press anything down.

Insects: You can use your hand to shoo away an insect, even if you end up touching the putting surface.

Pitchmarks: You can repair an old pitchmark or any other damage caused by the impact of a ball.

Ball marker: You can touch the putting line while pressing down your ball marker and/or picking it up.

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You can’t remove

Spike marks: You are not allowed to touch spike marks until everyone in your group has completed the hole. On completion of the hole, spike marks should be repaired as good etiquette. for following groups.

The line of the putt: You can’t touch the line of your putt to test the grass or attempt to improve the line.

Casual water: Dew or frost do not constitute loose impediments, and therefore cannot be brushed away or mopped with a towel. However, if there’s casual water on your line, you’re entitled to relief under Rule 25-1.

Can’t stand on the line: You must not make a stroke with either foot touching the line of your putt, including an extension of that line behind the ball.

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