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Major Change: Touching the Line of Play on a Putting GreenGolf's New Rules

Golf's New Rules: Major Changes

New Rule: The previous prohibition of touching the line of play on the putting green is eliminated:

  • There is no longer a penalty for merely touching the line of play on the putting green (the term “line of play” applies everywhere on the course including the putting green, and the term “line of putt” is no longer used).
  • But the player is still subject to the prohibition on improving his or her line of play on the putting green (see Rule 8.1a, as limited by 8.1b).

Reasons for Change:

No advantage is gained if a player or his or her caddie merely touches the surface of the putting green on the line where the ball will be played.

Over time, the prohibition on touching the line of putt had become subject to many exceptions: previous Rule 16-1a listed seven different situations in which a player was allowed to touch the line of putt.

The previous prohibition was difficult to administer and penalties were not often applied; and those penalties that were applied were often perceived as serving little or no purpose, such as when a caddie accidentally touched the line of putt with the flagstick.