Can You Clean Your Golf Ball When Asked To Lift It? 

Most of us know that when our ball is at rest on the putting green, we can lift the ball and clean it, but how about when your ball is not on the green, and another player asks you to please “mark your ball” because your ball could interfere with their next shot.  Can you clean your ball in that scenario?

When a player asks to you to mark your ball (when not on the putting green) because it is interfering with their line of play, or it just visually bothers them, you will put a mark down (such as a tee or a ball marker) and lift your ball.  You are not allowed to clean your ball in this situation. 

You probably don’t want to put it in your pocket, though, because that could look like you’re cleaning it and could earn you a two stroke penalty!

I like to hold it like a teacup. The rules don’t say that you “have to” hold it a specific way, but it’s a good idea to hold it gently so that it’s clear to others that you are not attempting to clean your ball.

Don’t Forget: You are always permitted to clean your ball when you lift it from the putting green. 


Marcela launched Girlfriends Guide To Golf and her On-Course Rules Experiences to grow the game, help women learn the rules of golf, and feel more confident out on the course.

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