Does your racket slide into place behind the ball to test the surface?

What do the rules say about slipping – rather than placing – your racket behind the ball in the title?

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Tough golf rules! Fortunately, we have a teacher. Our rules man knows the book from front to back. Got a question? He has all the answers.

While standing over the ball when set, I place the head of the racquet on the ground on the far side of the ball, then slide it across the surface toward me to snap into place. I think I started doing this to make sure I didn’t hit the ball when moving the racket into place. I was recently told that my route is illegal, because I’m “testing the green roof”, which never crossed my mind. Is that correct?
– Mykel Lefkowitz, Los Angeles, California.

Mykel, Mykel, Mykel – Is it too hard not to hit the ball when the racket is behind it? Is this really necessary?

The game certainly requires more stringent physical demands. But we go on. As long as you don’t intentionally test the surface by rubbing it, which is in violation of Rule 13.1e, there is no rule to be broken.

Hence, cleaning mud, for example, is not a rag, but rather rubbing his hand on the grass to see if the blow is with the grain or against it.

For more status guidance from our expert, read on…

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When I just need to adjust the alignment of my ball on the green, I will sometimes locate it with the head of the putter, which is held in a fixed position. I do this primarily to speed up gameplay. But in one of the last matches, my partner panicked, afraid that I would be called to apply a penalty. Is there anything to worry about? – David Schul, via email

While Rules Guy always welcomes any effort to improve the pace of play, the idea that “every second counts” may take a bit too far. How long does it take to get a marker out of your pocket?

Regardless, you can tell your anxious partner to calm down, the kids say. (Do they still say that?)

Rule 14.1 allows you to mark the ball in one of two ways: you can place the ball mark directly behind or next to the ball; Or you can do the same while carrying a club on the floor. While most of us choose the first option, you do. (Do kids still say that, too?)

Need help removing greens in your home cycle? Get a customized Green Book from Golf Logix, a subsidiary of 8AM Golf.

Do you have a question about the rules? Ask the guy the rules! Send your queries, confusions, and comments to We promise he won’t throw the book at you.

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