The Golf Ball Marker

By Kim Kleinle

When golfers reach the putting green, they place an object behind their ball to mark its location and then lift the ball. A change in the Rules of Golf opened the door to a market for these golf ball markers.


Effective in 1952, the United States Golf Association and the R&A--the two governing bodies of golf--changed the rules to allow marking a ball on the putting surface. Prior to 1952, if a golfer's ball was in your way (called a stymie), you had to putt around it or pop your ball over it.

The Rule

Rule 20-1 of the Rules of Golf states: "The position of the ball to be lifted should be marked by placing a ball-marker, a small coin or other similar object immediately behind the ball."


Markers are as simple as a plastic circle with a prong that sticks in the ground, to metal discs with designs that can include a golf club's logo, a favorite sports team or a flowered design.


Golf ball markers typically range in size from that of a dime to that of a quarter, but the rules do not specify a size. Some golfers use a small button attached to their golf glove for that purpose.


The provision regarding golf ball marker type in the Rules of Golf is a recommendation, so the golfer is not penalized if she uses a different method of marking the ball.

Fun Fact

The golfer can use a tee, a divot tool, a stone or even a leaf to mark his ball, but he cannot use an existing mark on the ground, such as a blemish on the green.


About The Author

Kim Kleinle is a PGA/LPGA professional and a member of a select group certified in instruction by the Professional Golfers' Association. She began writing in 1980 after earning her degree. Her work has appeared online, in "Northeast Golfer" and in newspapers, including the "Scranton Times." Kleinle holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Point Park University, Pittsburgh.

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