Rules Guy: Can I change the position of my mark without being asked?

January 20, 2019
The Rules of Golf are tricky! Thankfully, we’ve got the guru. Our Rules Guy knows the book front to back. Got a question? He’s got all the answers.
Marking ball on green
Marking your ball on the green is always a hot topic of conversation in the golf world.

I marked my ball on the green, and my opponent chipped up to a spot outside my marker. It appeared to me that my mark was in his line, so I moved it. He putted, and then I correctly re-marked my ball. But then it occurred to me: Can you change the position of your mark on the green without being asked to do so? —WILLIS WARD, JACKSON, TENN. Rules Guy certainly admires your willingness to consider your own actions, and their impact, without having to be persuaded at the point of a bayonet. You’ll be pleased to know that there is no issue with moving your ball marker without being asked, as long as you indeed return it to its original spot, lest you incur a two-stroke or loss-of-hole penalty.  Got a rules question? Of course you do! Whatever it may be, send yours to [email protected] and the question may be answered in an upcoming issue of GOLF. Until then, play by the Rules!