Imagine you're on the green with your golfing buddy, and you're both just a few feet away from the hole, your golf balls lying uncomfortably close to one another. Rules dictate that the furthest ball out has the first shot, but unfortunately your golf ball is obstructing your friend's line, so what do you do? Do you tell him just to deal with it?
Comments like that are only a good idea if you want to see how good your friend's throwing arm is after he picks up your ball and tosses it into the nearest hazard. Golf is a game of prestige and etiquette, and like many other gestures that encompass a day out on the course, there is also one that affords players plenty of room to putt without having to worry about running into another player's golf ball.
This is where knowing how to use a golf ball marker comes into play. Pros and weekend warriors alike have used golf ball markers in one form or another since the early years of the game. So what exactly are they?
What Is A Golf Ball Marker?
Golf ball markers are used on putting greens to mark the position of a player's ball so that he or she will be able to remove their golf ball to allow another player to putt without obstruction. They can be anything from a lucky coin to a paper marker, so long as the object doesn't get in the way of the other player's line.
Golf ball markers typically consist of small, flat objects, making coins a popular alternative for custom markers. In recent years, however, golf ball markers have taken on new forms and features, giving players the ability to customize their own markers and adding a personal touch to their spot on the green.
How To Use A Golf Ball Marker
When using a golf ball marker on the green during normal play, it's important to consider the rules pertaining to the use of ball markers, just in case issues arise. The USGA specifically addresses the proper procedures for lifting and marking in Rule 20-1 of the official 2012-2015 USGA Rules and Decisions Manual:
"The position of a ball to be lifted should be marked by placing a ball marker, a small coin or other similar object immediately behind the ball. If the ball marker interferes with the play, stance, or stroke of another player, it should be placed one or more clubhead-lengths to one side."
For example, it's not uncommon for players to claim that another golfer's ball marker is too big or distracting, making their putt a little more difficult to carry out. A simple and cordial solution for this issue would be to move your marker a clubhead-length to the side, giving your golfing buddy plenty of room (and little excuse) to complete his or her putt.
Best Golf Ball Markers Available Today
A lucky coin or a little loose change is always a great back-up should you forget your custom golf ball marker at home, but there are plenty of fun and useful variations of golf ball markers available today that can add a special touch to your greenside etiquette.
The most basic personalized golf ball markers include die struck ball markers. These resilient metal ball markers commonly feature personalized names and logos of the customer's choosing, and can be custom-made to feature a player's favorite sports team, alma mater, initials and more. Many of these basic ball markers are also magnetic, making them easy to keep up with around any metal surface.
Another useful take on golf ball markers are combination ball marker/divot tools. These divot tools feature magnetic ball markers that attach to the handle portion of the tool, creating the perfect two-in-one utensil for use on the putting green. Hat clip/ ball marker combos are popular as well. The magnetic markers attach easily to the hat clip, making losing this little jewel on the course a near impossibility.
Knowing how to use a golf ball marker is an essential skill that shows the people you're playing with that you are well-versed in golf etiquette and procedure. Properly using your golf ball marker will also ensure that controversial issues on the putting green are kept to a minimum, giving each player plenty of space and breathing room to complete each putt, without having to worry about playing bumper cars with another golfer's ball. There are plenty of fun ways to personalize your own golf ball markers today, so consider looking for a marker that promotes your brand on the putting green.