PGA Rules for Ball Markers

Ball Markers

For golfers who are less competitive and simply play for fun, marking your ball is seen as a common courtesy to those players who are further away from the hole. All you need to do is grab something nearby – like a plastic marker, a coin, or even a tee or even someone can use personalized golf ball marker. Then mark and remove your ball before putting it back when it’s your turn. All golfers, whether professional or amateur, are subject to the same rules. These rules cover situations as small as moving a ball marker.

Rules of Golf

The Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA) follows the Rules of Golf as published by the United States Golf Association, along with other professional and amateur organizations.

Marking the ball is essential in many cases throughout the game, but is most often needed under rules 20-1 and 20-3. To quote rule 20-1, “Position a ball marker, small coin, or similar object behind the ball to be lifted.”While you won’t be penalized for using an object that’s not similar to a plastic ball marker or small coin, PGA players almost always use a small, flat disc.

The aim of golf is simple: hit the ball into the hole in as few shots as possible. But with numerous different clubs to choose from and a bag full of confusing rules, it can be tough to know where to start.

Here are five essential rules that every golfer should know before taking their first swing:

  1. The game begins with each player teeing off at the starting hole – this is known as driving. Players take turns hits balls until they reach the green or final putting surface;
  2. After all players have teed off, whoever’s ball lies furthest away from the hole takes their next shot first;
  3. When it’s your turn to play again, you must place your ball within two club lengths of where it originally landed (unless there is an obstruction in your way);

4 If you accidentally move your ball while taking a shot or setting up for one (known as grounding), you will incur a penalty stroke;

5 Once everyone has holed out – that means putting their last remaining strokes into the cup on the 18th green -the person with the lowest score wins!

Now that you know the basics, it’s time to get out on the course and put them into practice! Remember, have fun, and don’t take yourself too seriously – golf is supposed to be enjoyable. If you make a mistake, just laugh it off and try again. After all, we’ve all been there before.

Who May Mark a Ball

According to the Rules of Golf, a ball can be marked by the player themselves, their partner (as in best-ball matches), or any other individual authorized by the player. After the ball has been lifted, it must be replaced by either the player who lifted it, their partner, or another member of their team. The player is responsible for any rule violations, regardless of who marks or replaces the ball.

When Balls May Be Marked

There are many opportunities for PGA players to mark and lift their balls, not just when another player is away. In fact, according to the official Rules of Golf, there are a variety of situations in which this is allowed. If a player is unsure if the ball is his, he may pick it up to examine it. If the ball is cut or otherwise damaged, he may inspect it and replace the ball with a new one if necessary.

If a player wants to clean his ball while on the green, he is allowed to mark and lift it. If play needs to be stopped because of bad weather, players are allowed to mark their ball’s position.


Similar to how a nation’s laws may be interpreted by different courts, the Rules of Golf also has precedents set by past cases. which the USGA terms “Decisions.” For example, in the 2010 Dubai World Championship (not a PGA event, but played under the standard Rules of Golf), Ian Poulter marked his ball on the green of the second playoff hole, picked it up, and then accidentally dropped it while trying to place marker back down, which dislodged. Poulter informed the match referee of his mistake, resulting in a one-stroke penalty that cost him the event’s first prize. Although he was awarded the second prize of $833,000 Rule 20-1 states that if a ball is moved while lifting it with no intention to do so, there is no penalty.

However, in Dubai, the referee cited Decision 20-1/15. This decision narrows the definition of “directly attributable” to actions such as placing a ball-marker behind the ball, placing a club to the side of the ball, or lifting the ball was caused by player’s hand movement,  the placement of either the ball or marker or simply lifting said action. The referee ruled that Poulter’s act of marking the ball was completed when he lifted it from the ground, and slipping it out of his hand thereafter wasn’t part of that act.


As a golfer, it is important to be familiar with the rules of golf. This includes knowing how and when to mark your ball. By following the proper procedures, we can all make the game more enjoyable for everyone involved. For more information on the Rules of Golf, please visit

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