Your ball is on the putting surface, but it is not the one you are playing against. Our Rules of Golf Expert Reveals What to Do Next
You have marked, lifted and cleaned your ball. You repaired any damage to the green and took care not to deliberately test the green.
All the key requirements of Rule 13. But the regulations about what you can and can’t do on the dancefloor go even further.
This time we’re going to see what happens if you end up on a different green than where you should have played…
I ended up on a bad green
A bad green is defined in the regulations like everything on the course other than the putting green of the hole the player is playing. This also includes a normal green if a temporary green is used and all practice greens unless excluded by a Local Rule.
If you find yourself on a wrong green, you must take relief under Rule 13.1f. Interference occurs when any part of the ball strikes a wrong putting green or “lies on or in anything” – the Rule gives the example of a loose impediment or obstruction – and lies “outside ‘inside the edge of a bad green’.
If a bad green interferes with your stance or swing area, you must also take relief.
It’s not a choice. Rule 13.1f (2) asks you not to play the ball as it lies. You’ll have to drop, and the relief area is the “nearest point of complete relief on the same area of the course where the original ball came to rest”. Bad greens are rated in the general area.
You have a one-club relief area with all the usual instructions – no nearer the hole than the reference point, in the same area of the course as that point and with full relief from interference from the wrong green.
But don’t get carried away. You will not get relief from a bad green if it is “clearly unreasonable”. So if you are right-handed and tried to play left-handed because then you would be on the wrong green, your club, stance type, swing, or direction may not be reasonable under the circumstances.
Also be sure to take a look at the local rules of the course you are playing on. A Committee may introduce a Local Rule denying relief from a wrong green if it only interferes with your intended position.
Next week we’ll look at how you should handle the flag…