MR. X Joins Local Golfer!

In his running column, Mr. X,’s newest golf contributor answers his first question.


Dear Mr. X,

What is the rule on marking a ball on the green?  My partner picks up the ball and puts the marker where the ball was. I say you put the marker behind the ball without moving it, and then pick up the ball. He argues that he is marking the exact spot and therefore doing it correctly. When he replaces the ball, he picks up the marker and says he puts the ball on the little hole that the marker left; therefore, he says he is more accurate.


Troubled Marker


Troubled Marker,

Your question is a good one because it gives Mr. X a chance to answer within the Rules of Golf, but also with the sometimes reality of how golfers play by (or enforce) the Rules of Golf. Let me explain.

First – you are correct – your partner is incorrectly marking his ball according to the Rules of Golf. USGA Rules of Golf, Rule 20-1. Lifting and Marking, clearly states: “The position of the ball must be marked before it is lifted under a Rule that requires it to be replaced. If it is not marked, the player incurs a penalty of one stroke and the ball must be replaced. If it is not replaced, the player incurs the general penalty for breach of this Rule but there is no additional penalty under Rule 20-1.”

So under the Rules of Golf, your partner is in breach of the rules each time he employs his unique – but backwards – ball marking technique. BUT WAIT …

Before you drop the bomb on your partner with the Rules of Golf, Mr. X would like to ask if you and your partner (and perhaps others in your group) really play by the Rules of Golf?

Mr X. asks with respect, but wonders, if this Rule is just the one rule infraction that really annoys you, but then you and your group play a lost ball in the vicinity of where your last ball most likely finished (instead of going back to the tee and re-teeing)? Do you roll the ball the fairway? Do you play Out-of-Bounds (OB) like a red-hazard-staked area?

Mr. X asks, because if you’re like a majority of golfers, there are many adaptions of “rules” . . . like the lost ball, OB, and winter rules (all year round) that are used regularly by golfers to speed up play and have a little more fun. It may not be worth your friendship to put a stop to your partner’s practice or add strokes to your partners score for each bad marking if you and your group skirt the rules on other occasions.

Now, if you’re a “Rules are Rules” guy, then educate your partner on Rule 20-1 and let him know you will be enforcing the penalty stroke each time he marks his ball incorrectly. Something tells me he’ll quickly learn to mark his ball correctly within the Rules of Golf.


For more information on the USGA Rules of Golf visit: This link can be bookmarked on your computer – or better yet – download the USGA RULES App on your Android or Smart phone to be able to access the Rules of Golf anytime you’re playing. The USGA RULES App has come in handy a number of times for Mr. X during rules questions on the course.


—ORIGINAL ARTICLE— is proud to announce the arrival of Mr. X, our newest golf contributor.

Mr. X is now on staff and ready to field your questions as our resident advice guru, rules aficionado (semi-pro), and essentially, the guy who will give you the straight and honest scoop (as he sees it) on any golf related question you may have.

ASK AWAY . . .

Ask away on proper golf etiquette, questionable behavior on the course, rules questions, or just get some advice on how to tell your fellow golfer about something he or she is doing that bugs you.

Mr. X is ready . . . so ask away!

How Will He Do It?

Mr. X will be answering all questions in his running column and will providing honest and sometimes humorous advice for all golfers to help bring a little more enjoyment and knowledge to the game.

It’s Easy!

1429477010_portrait-16-256To ask Mr. X a question, please either leave your question/s in the comment section of the column, or email Mr. X at

If you prefer, questions can be asked anonymously through email. Just let Mr. X know you want to keep all names private to protect the innocent.

Mr. X looks forward to hearing from YOU!  FIRE AWAY!