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Greens excluded? Why?


Aug 10, 2020
United States United States
Any experts on the rules?

why are the greens excluded from the basic rules of golf?

play the course as you find it!

repairing the green and pitch marks is not playing the course as you find it!

marking and raising, cleaning, and aligning your ball is not playing the ball as it lies!

It is allowed I know but seems to violate the basic rules!


Mental Ward Escapee
Supporting Member
Oct 18, 2006
I forgot!
United States United States
Two different "games". From tee to green, we play the ball in the air. Well, we try to. There has always been some discussion about being able to move your ball from a divot in the fairway. For the most part, though, you make no repairs to the course that would improve your lie between tee and green.
Once on the green, the game changes. Early on, you had to jump a stymie. IOW, players did not mark their ball on the green and you either had to go around it or over it. The idea is to roll the ball and that action requires a smooth surface. Hence, you are allowed to fix ball marks that could inhibit such a roll.
In most cases, we have differing grasses on fairway and green. The grass used on greens is able to be cut short and provide a "table top" roll. Fairway grasses allow the ball to sit up so a player can make contact and get it elevated.
I don't remember seeing anywhere in the ROG where the entire course is treated as a single surface/area. If we are to play the same rules from tee to when the ball is holed out, why should tees be legal? What should you be able to place it on the tee box? Just toss it down and hit it from where it lands. If you can use a tee on the tee box, why not in the fairway? Can I tee it up in a sand bunker? Different areas with different rules.


ST Homeland Security
Aug 30, 2004
If the rules of golf say that you can mark and repair on the green, then by definition marking and repairing on the green isn't violating the basic rules. It's axiomatic.

Also, as alluded to in the above post, the basic rules do not treat every spot/surface on the course the same. On surfaces deemed hazards, you can't ground the club. On others, you can. Thus, it's not antithetical to the spirit of the game to treat the green differently than other surfaces on the course.

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