Rules Guy: Can I hold another ball in my hand while putting?

November 17, 2018
Rules Guy - Ball in grip

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.
Is it legal to putt with both hands while holding another ball in one hand?
—RYAN CRAGO, VIA E-MAIL
To get a handle on this question, Rules Guy needs to know whether you’re holding the ball against the club’s grip to try to assist in play.
If so, that’s a breach of Rule 14-3, and you incur the general penalty of two strokes in stroke play and loss of hole in match play, followed by disqualification for the next breach.


That said, Rule 14-3 is an intent-based rule, so if it’s just a matter of you casually tapping a ball in the hole while readying to put a new orb in play on the next tee, that’s fine — just don’t let this tic get out of hand.
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!