The incident at the 2021 Arnold Palmer Invitation tournament at Bay Hill involving Jason Day highlighted the importance of golf ball marking for identification purposes.
Jason Day hit his driver on the par 5 16th hole and lost the ball towards the right into an area with trees. No-one saw the ball drop and eventually found a ball in the tree. Jason could not identify the ball as his and continued to search.
The ball was soon seen in a bird’s nest, making it challenging to identify. Try as they might with binoculars; they couldn’t identify it. A nearby photographer with his Zoom lens could zoom into the ball for Jason Day to identify.
Without the identification, Jason would have returned to the tee and hit his third shot due to a lost ball. After finding the ball, he could drop it below the nest and play his third shot from there, thus saving a shot.
Marking a golf ball serves more purposes than just identification. Many companies mark golf balls with their branding for advertising on golf days.
Ball marking can be quite a controversial topic between golfing aficionados. The disagreement stems from two rules that may be on the opposite side of the coin.
Does Golf Ball Marking Help
Why Mark Your Golf Balls
The primary purpose of marking a golf ball is to enable a golfer to identify it when there is any uncertainty.
Furthermore, golfers enjoy personalizing their brand, and companies mark golf balls for marketing purposes. Several golfers have assembled quite a collection of golf balls from sponsored golf days.
In addition, Rule 6-3a promotes marking a golf ball to prevent unnecessary penalties since a golfer can incur a two-stroke penalty in stroke play.
In match play, the penalty can cause the loss of a hole.
Best Marker Tool for your Golf balls
Manufacturers print their brand name and other details on golf balls. Most add a line or the specific type of ball on the side for ease of alignment.
However, all golfers in a fourball can play with the same brand and number of the golf ball. This requires everyone to identify their golf balls on the tee. Should the same brand and number be shared, it is crucial that teach golfer to add some unique identifying marks on their golf balls.
There are several ways to add unique markings to a golf ball. This can be done before the round or during the round. It is advisable to standardize a unique identifier on all golf balls in a golfer’s bag. This will prevent confusion if two shots end up close to each other.
Permanent markers come in a variety of tip sizes that can draw larger lines. It allows the golfer to position the marking anywhere they wish.
Another benefit of permanent markers is that the ink does not flow, fade, or smear easily.
However, constant impact with the clubface on the marking could lead to difficulty in identifying the golf ball.
Marking a golf ball on opposing sides will make the identification much easier if the ball comes to rest on one of the sides containing the marking.
Filling on or more dimples in a predefined pattern or using their initials are the most common ways that golfers mark their golf balls. Adding a smile below the brand name will remind the golfer to have fun ad not take everything too seriously.
Using one of the multitudes of markers available will ensure that a standard marking is applied to all golf balls being used by the golfer. When lending a golf ball to a playing partner, be sure to add additional markings to avoid confusion.
Personalized Golf Ball Stamp
In addition to the templates available, there are golf ball stamps available that provide the opportunity for personalization.
This can be in the form of a favorite animal, company name, player name, and many more.
Golf stamps are then printed onto a golf ball using permanent ink to produce a smudge-free and water-resistant imprint. The maximum size that will fit properly on a golf ball is a 3/8-inch circle.
Avid golf watchers would have noticed that professional golfers use n alignment mark on their golf balls to line up their putts. They frequently lift the ball and realign after perusing the putt from a distance behind the golf ball.
Callaway added the Triple Track System to some of the golf balls in their range to aid golfers in aligning the golf ball with similarly marked putters. There is no limitation to the markings that can be added provided it does not change the characteristics of the golf ball.
The Following alignment markings are frequently used by golfers of all levels.
The most frequently used alignment marker is a straight line, whether it is added by the golfer or comes standard added by the manufacturer.
It varies in thickness, and some have a direction marker on the one side for consistency in the roll.
This enables the golfer to align the ball to a selected spot around 10 inches ahead of the ball and roll it over such a marker.
The “T” Line
A T-line is similar to the straight line but adds a line, thus enabling the golfer to ensure that the putter head is square at address.
The Lone Dot
Golfers use the lone-dot method to increase concentration on a specific spot when lining up a putt or a tee shot. The dot reminds them to keep their eyes on the ball for as long as possible.
Finding the Sweet Spot
As most people know, there are variations between golf balls, even between the same brand, series, and number. Titleist V1-series produce the best consistency and result in a better grouping of shots. To overcome this and offer more consistency, there is a tool available on the market to electronically identify the sweet spot in every golf ball and enable it to mark it precisely.
Knowing where the sweet spot enables the golfer to create extra distance and consistency by lining the golf ball up for impact with the sweet spot.
Is it legal to mark your golf ball?
Golf ball marking is a little contentious as there are two contradicting rules of both governing bodies. No rule enforces markings on the ball. However, Rule 6-3a states (1) promote marking the golf ball while Rule 10-2b (2) reads restricts any objects on the putting line once the stroke is executed.
Some golfers argue that alignment markings contravene the spirit of Rule 10-2b as the alignment mark cannot be removed before stroking the putt. They contend that an object can be defined as “a material object that is visible and tangible” and the alignment mark complies with this definition.
Since rules officials allow the markings in tournament play, it is accepted by the majority of golfers that this practice is acceptable.
How does a golf ball marker work?
Golf ball markers are generally a flat object that is placed behind the ball on the green when the golfer walks around reading the green and slopes to visualize an imaginary line to roll the putt on.
The marker can be placed anywhere around the ball, provided that the golf ball is placed in the exact position before the putting stroke is executed. However, when dropping the ball in the fairway or rough the ball marker would be rather difficult to detect.
Using a golfing tee is usually used under these circumstances.
What do golf pros use for ball markers?
All golfers tend to have their preferences in the alignment process. Professional golfers are no different and have their own processes that they follow. Some of the quirkier markers being used are:
Jordan Spieth has a Z marker on his golf ball to remind him to apply his full attention to the putt and Zero in his concentration. To add some quirkiness to his routine, Jordan plays with a ball marked with a four in the first round, flowed by a three on the second day, a two-ball on the third day, and then only uses a number one ball on the final day.
2010 Open winner Louis Oosthuizen places the initials of his immediate family on the side and puts a small dot next to the number on the golf ball. At address none of the markings face upwards and Louis can only see the clear area of the golf ball.
Former women’s number one golfer puts a plus sign above the number and brand of her Callaway ball and her initials below the Callaway emblem.
Danielle is one of the golfers that applies a marking on either side of the golf ball for easy identification. One side contains a thick black line, while the other side contains a single dot.
Should you line up your ball when putting?
Matching the line and speed of a putt is difficult as it stands. Golfers require every bit of assistance they can get.
Lining up a putt is extremely important to hole more putts. The results can be seen when golfers take extra care to line the golf ball up precisely to a marking slightly ahead of them. The farther the ball is away from the hole, the more critical the alignment becomes.
Marking a golf ball before commencing play could save a golfer loads of stress and avoidable penalties. This practice, although not enforced, as a rule, is highly recommended by the golfing governing bodies.
In addition to identification, markings can enable proper alignment on the green, or even the tee, making shots more straightforward. There is no limitation on the markings that can be placed on a golf ball other than the imagination of the golfer and the size of the golf ball.
Any feedback and experiences will be appreciated in the comments section below.
- Rule 6 – Playing a Hole, https://www.usga.org/content/usga/home-page/rules/rules-2019/rules-of-golf/rule-6.html
- Rule 10 – Preparing for and Making a Stroke; Advice and Help; Caddies, https://www.usga.org/content/usga/home-page/rules/rules-2019/rules-of-golf/rule-10.html
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