Pink ball golf rules

Golf Ball Marker Rules

By John Lindell

The marker must be placed behind the ball.

The marker must be placed behind the ball.

It is necessary in golf to mark your ball once it is on the green in order to allow players further away to putt. If players did not mark their golf balls, then other players might hit the ball with their ball when they putt. Marking a golf ball on a green must be done properly and according to the rules of the game, or players can be subject to penalties.

Marking Rules and Etiquette

A player may mark her ball by placing a ball marker or a small coin, such as a dime, right behind where the ball lies on the green. The key phrase here is right behind, as it is not recommended to place the marker anywhere else, such as in front or to the side, to designate where the ball was, even though this is legal. Marking in front of the ball may alter the green in some way and is discouraged.

Moving a Marker

Since the ball marker is considered a movable obstruction by the rules of golf, it can be moved by a player without incurring a penalty. If a player requests that a ball marker that seems to be in the line of his putt be moved, it can be. When a player chooses to putt her golf ball with the ball marker in place and hits the marker, the deflected golf ball must be played from where it ends up on the putting surface. A player may mark his own ball or have anyone that is authorized to do so, such as his caddy, mark the ball on the green. If the ball being marked is accidentally moved, no penalty is assessed. To move a marker, it should be placed one or more full club lengths to one side.

Penalty Scenarios

There are golf rules that cover a host of ball-marking scenarios. If a player drops her marker on the golf ball and moves it, the penalty is one stroke. However, there is no penalty if a marker is accidentally knocked away by such forces as the wind, an opponent or even an animal. If a player believes that a hole has been won and picks up his marker before the hole has been decided, a one-stroke penalty results. The player that marks her ball and then fumbles it as she tries to pick it up suffers no penalty. But the player that even by accident kicks his ball when making a movement to lift it is penalized, since under the rules this was not caused by an attempt to lift the ball. It is a one-stroke penalty to mark a ball by placing the marker more than an inch behind the ball. If a player fails to employ a marker and instead decides to use a certain blemish or distinguishable spot on the green as a reference point, then a one-stroke penalty is the result of such action. Players may elect to use the toe of one of their own golf clubs or other objects as a marker without penalty.

pink ball golf rules
Golf Rules: How To Play Golf
Golf Photo credit: Lilrizz (source)

The game of golf as we know it today originated in the 1400s in Scotland but the first relations of the game go back as far as the first century B.C. In 1457 King James II of Scotland outlawed the game as an unwelcome distraction and no doubt many golf widows and widowers wish it had remained so.

Regarded as the home of golf, the Old Course at St Andrews was established in 1552. Although Musselburgh Links is officially recognised as the worlds oldest course and dates from just 1672, there is no doubting golf is a sport with serious history and a seriously intimidating set of rules.

Object of the Game

The object of the game is simple enough: to get your ball from the tee (the starting point of any hole) to the green and ultimately into the hole in as few shots as possible. The hole refers both to the physical hole marked by a flag into which the ball must be sunk and also the entire area from the tee to the green. This may be considered one unit of the course, with a standard course consisting of 18 separate holes played in turn.

Players & Equipment

Golf is usually played individually, with a professional tournament generally consisting of around 80-160 players playing in groups of three or four, competing against each other. There are also team tournaments, the most notable being the Ryder Cup played between Europe and the USA. In this format 12 players from each side compete in a mixture of singles matches, played one against one, and doubles, two against two.

The equipment used in golf is highly regulated, with exact specifications for almost everything, from the exact make and model of clubs that are allowed, to the size and shape of the grooves on their face (the surface with which the ball is hit), to the precise weight and aerodynamic capabilities of the ball. Due to the fast pace at which technology is improving this has been a difficult area for the governing body, the R & A, to regulate.

Players are only allowed to carry and use 14 clubs during any one round and in addition to the clubs and ball the players normally wear a glove on their left hand (for right-handed players) and also use tees, small pegs, to elevate the ball for the first shot on any given hole.

Confusingly the part of the course the first shot is made from is also called the tee and golf is unusual among ball games in not having a standardised pitch or playing area. Although all courses will have the same features, such as tees, greens, fairway and hazards, the exact layout and size varies, making each course unique, which is very much part of the games allure.


The most common scoring method in golf is called stroke play, where the total number of shots a player takes to get the ball into each hole is added together. At amateur level this is usually over one round (set of 18 holes) whilst professionals normally play four rounds, starting on a Thursday and finishing a tournament on the Sunday.

The score is expressed in terms of under or over par. Par is the number of shots a good golfer (someone playing off scratch, or a handicap of zero) would expect to complete a given hole in, with one always allowed for the tee shot and two putts (shots played on the smooth, prepared area around the hole called the green). Being under par is a good thing as you have completed the hole in fewer shots than expected.

Apart from stroke play the other main scoring method is match play. Under this system whoever completes each hole in the least number of shots wins that hole or if it is level the hole is halved. The overall victor is the one who wins the most holes, with results normally expressed as 3 & 2 for example, meaning one player was three holes in front with only two left to play.

In addition there are also Stableford, skins and other scoring methods but these are predominantly only used in amateur play.

Winning the Game

Most pro events, including all four of the games Majors (the biggest, most valuable, prestigious tournaments each year) use the stroke play system. Events are held over four days and the winner is the player who completes 72 holes (four rounds of 18, almost always on the same course) in the fewest number of shots (also called strokes).

Rules of Golf

  • The ball must be hit using standard clubs from the start of each hole to the green and ultimately into the hole, which is marked by a flag.
  • Players strike the ball in turn with the furthest away from the hole going first. At the start of a new hole whoever took the least shots on the preceding hole shall go first.
  • The penalty for a lost ball is one stroke and this includes balls struck out of bounds (off that particular hole) or into water hazards. You have five minutes to search for your ball and the penalty is both stroke (one shot) if the ball is lost and additionally distance (you play again from your original starting point) if it goes out of bounds or into the water.
  • Players can only use up to 14 clubs.
  • Players cannot seek advice from anyone other than their partner or caddy.
  • The ball should be played as it is found you must not move, break or bend anything fixed or growing, other than to assume your normal stance, to improve the lie of the ball, your line of site or your area of swing.
  • On the putting green a player can mark, lift and clean his ball so long as it is replaced exactly where it was. He or she may also repair ball marks or hole plugs but not spike marks that are on the putting line.

How is Bubba Watson allowed to use a pink (and green) golf ball at the Masters?

The Masters. Its a tournament unlike any other so austere and traditional that it forbids anyone to wear a backward hat, forcescaddies to wear white jumpsuits that make them look like backup dancers ina Puff Daddy video, compels its TV partners to refer to fans as patrons, sand traps as bunkers and rough as second cut andsellsconcessionsat 1980s prices, among dozens of other like quirks that make Augusta National the most unique place in golf.

And then you flip on the TV and in all the controlled, manufactured serenity of the most beautiful golf course in the world there heis two-time Masters winnerBubba Watson, playing a golf ball thats pinkpink. Bright pink. Victorias Secret pink. Its jolting in a world filled with green and white.

Off the tee, on the fairway, nestled in the pine straw, into the green, dropping in the cup the ball constantly seems out of place. Its never more jolting than when Bubba putts his pink ball on the luscious, curvaceous greens of Augusta, providing avisual thatsmore apt for the miniature golf course rather than greatest tournament in the world.

(Getty Images) Getty Images

When you see Bubba on the backnine at Augusta, your first thought is, Oh, wow, hes playing with a pink ball! Its an obvious sentiment given that you almost never see non-white balls at any level of the sport (maybe a few neon yellow balls during your weekend round, and the occasional pink lady, which have beenmarketed toward women because theyre designed for slower swing speeds). But on the PGA? Its been decades since I saw anything but a white ball,maybe since Hale Irwin used an orange ball in the 70s and 80s.

But before you wrap your ahead around that, a more immediate question coms to mind: If the Masters has a litany of rules and forbids anything it doesnt like, then why isanybody allowed to use a pink ball? This almost feels rebellious, like Andre Agassi showing up to Centre Court at Wimbledon with his jorts and neon Nike shirts. Surely the Masters has a rule about this.

Nope. TheMasters runs by USGA rules, and USGA rules only state that a player must use a conforming ball as approved by the organization. Of the approximately 1,200 conforming balls, about 70 are pink. That makes pink the second-most popular color, behind yellow and just about tied with orange. There are also blue, red, silver, gold, green and purple golf balls, all of which are theoretically legal at the Masters. (As is Bubbas pink glove, which hes also using this week.) One thing thats not legalat the Masters are anywhere else playing under USGA rulesis that a player may not change ball color during the round.You could play four different colors during the tournament as long as they all were used in the four distinct rounds.

(Getty Images) Getty Images

Augusta could make its own rule, of course. The caddies-in-jumpsuits thing is unique to the place. And with Wimbledonsalmost entirely in white dress code having been on the books for decades, theres precedencein sports. Thankfully, and in breaking with its own stodginess, the Masters seemingly has no interest in doing so.

So why pink for Bubba? He first came to notice for wearing flashes of pink to raise money and awareness to various charities. When he first won the Masters in 2012, Watson used a sweet-looking pink PING driver he used en route to victory. (A limited sales run sold out immediately.) Every drive of over 300 yards (normal in Bubba-land) brought Bubbas charity a donation of $300 by PING.

The reason for this balls usage, however, has a slightly more capitalistic bent. Bubbarecently signed on with Volvik, the South Korean ball manufacturer. Volvik happens to make a slew of colored golf balls, which is something Bubba noticed before he signed with the company(or at least thats the narrative created after he did):

They used a pink one and they used an orange one. I was watching this, and Id never looked at the company. So I Googled the website, I looked at it, and read about. Its a small company. You cant just come out here and just start boasting and spending advertising dollars and things, because youll hurt your company real fast. Theyre doing things differently, and thats how I noticed them.

(USA TODAY Sports Images) Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports

Bubbaspink ball debuted at the start of the 2017 season and might soon be joined by a green ball (Bubba insists its notthat shade of green its more lime green) as well as a boring ol white one. The two-time Masters champion thinks adding in some golf-ball flaircould be good for the sport. Im all for it.

Ever since Tiger Woods dominant win in 1997 led to the so-called Tiger-proofing of Augusta, some have wondered whether the Masters would ever create its own conforming golf ball and make players use it at the tournament. Itd be in response to the technology that sees new balls jump off the club face, like a 10-cent bouncy ball you used to get in grocery store vending machines. The guys in green dont think thatll happen.

Said Augusta chairman Billy Payne, whenasked about the issue during this years media address:

I think the greatest development since (that talk surfaced) is that the governing bodies, the USGA and the R&A, now have a more concentrated, concerned effort about that issue, as they do with the other rules.They are working together to ensure that it does not become a problem, and as is always the case, we have great confidence in their ability to forge a solution.

But of course, as you would imagine, we always reserve the right to do whatever we have to do to preserve the integrity of our golf course. But I dont think that (a Masters golf ball) will ever happen.

If it does though, I doubt itd come in shades of pink.

Bubba Ball 2017: Watson switches to Volvik golf ball

By: Jeff Babineau | January 2, 2017 7:42 pm

KAPALUA, Hawaii Well, its official. Bubba Watson, the 10th-ranked player in the world, will play a Volvik golf ball in 2017. Hell start at this weeks SBS Championship at Kapalua.

Watson, 38, who counts two Masters titles among his nine PGA Tour victories, will start out with Volviks model called the White Color S4, which he says is known as Blue Pearl here in the United States, and he will wear the companys logo on his sleeve. Watson was wearing one of his new shirts at Kapalua on Monday.

Watson showed off his new ball, which at first glance appears white and has the words White Color in script across the ball. As he turned the ball in the radiant light, it showed tinges of blue color across the dimples. He previously played a Titleist Pro V1x.

He likes that a colored ball gives him something of a fun factor in a game that he believes needs to grow. In a perfect world, Watson said hed like to play a lime green ball, but there is not an S4 model in that color approved yet by the U.S. Golf Association. On Monday, he was given five dozen new pink balls that recently were added to the USGA conforming list.

Right now, I have five dozen (pink) and five dozen of the Blue Pearl, he said. Ill probably just rotate. Its more fun to rotate. White ball one day, pink ball, and then if I get the lime one (when it gets approved), rotate that into the rounds each week.

Interestingly, Watson said the Rules of Golf would prohibit him from playing a pink ball on one hole and a different color ball on the next, even if the two balls were the same model. So for now, hell have to settle for different colors on different days.

I dont know what the reasoning is, he said, but thats what the USGA says.

Watson said he got the idea to play a Volvik ball when he was home in October watching the World Long Drive Championships in Thackerville, Okla. He called his longtime caddie, Ted Scott, and the two giggled about the idea of a colored golf ball. Watson got on the Internet and researched the company, got some balls to test, as did Scott, and he was on his way (Watson said he tested several brands).

Ping (the company whose clubs Watson plays) used to have the two-toned ball. I said, Is there any way to make a swirl, like a pink-or-white swirl, or a camo finish? Watson asked. If were going to challenge ourselves, lets challenge ourselves to make something thats really off the wall thats still playable. Companies I want to be with are ones that let me have an influence and let me in on the decision-making.

Watson perennially ranks among the longest hitters in the game, ranking fourth in driving distance last season (310.6 yards). He has led the Tour in driving distance five times (the last in 2014) and has ranked second in distance four other times.

Watsons move to Volvik means five companies are represented among the top 10 players in the world. With Rory McIlroy expected to return to Titleist when he competes in South Africa this month, Titleist will have four of the top 10 (two playing Pro V1, two playing Pro V1x). Also represented are TaylorMade (two), Callaway (two), Srixon (one) and now Volvik.

Watson wanted to clarify one minor detail Monday: Technically, he said, he has played a colored golf ball his entire career.

Everybody has, he said. White, thats a color. They (golf balls) dont start white. Companies have to make them white.

Bubba Watson, Golf Equipment, SBS Tournament of Champions, SBS Tournament of Champions 2017, Volvik, Equipment

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