Lines on Golf Balls: What Are the Rules?

Lines on Golf Balls: What Are the Rules?

golf ball alignment marker

When you’re playing a round of golf, you may see some players marking their balls. This isn’t just a way of helping players identify which balls are theirs. It’s also to help them with their putting skills.

However, the practice of drawing alignment lines on golf balls is somewhat controversial. Some golfers argue it should be prohibited. Others see no problems with it at all. Read on to learn more.


Why mark a golf ball?

The main reason to mark a golf ball is to ensure you don’t mistake someone else’s ball for your own. Accidentally hitting someone else’s balls can result in a two-stroke penalty in stroke play, and the loss of a hole in match play. If you keep playing with someone else’s balls, the penalty can be applied more than once, until this makes the game unplayable.

This is even in the official rules of golf: Rule 6.3 states “After teeing off, the player is normally required to play the same ball until the hole is completed. The player gets a penalty for making a stroke at a wrong ball,” while 6.3a states “The player should put an identification mark on the ball to be played.”

But it’s not just about identifying your balls. Marking your golf ball can also help you with your putting alignment.

To make putting easier, some players draw a line on their ball. This helps them to line up their putter with the ball, and their ball with the hole.

Are alignment aids illegal in golf?

The rules dictate a player should mark their rules of golf encourage players to mark their balls for easy identification, but marking them for alignment purposes is a controversial matter.

This is due to rule 10-2b, which states: “A player must not set an object down to help with aiming or to help in taking a stance for the stroke to be made.”

Some players feel that a ball marked with an alignment aid goes against this rule. The argument goes that a marked ball is itself an object that will “help with aiming”, and that using such a ball gives one an unfair advantage over players with unmarked balls.

However, marking a ball with an alignment mark is not actually against the rules. Rule 6-3a further states that “There are no regulations to limit what or how many markings can be applied to the ball by the player, provided its original markings can be discerned.” If it were against the rules to use golf ball alignment lines, pro golfers like Viktor Hovland of Norway wouldn’t do it.

So, you can indeed draw a line on your golf ball without incurring any sort of official penalty.

How do I mark my golf ball?

Some golf ball brands already have arrows marked on the centre of the golf ball. This already makes the controversy about alignment markers redundant – if you can buy balls with them drawn on, then everybody has the opportunity to use them, meaning nobody really has an advantage anyway.

For example, the Titleist Pro V1x (a very popular ball that’s used by professionals like Joaquin Niemann and Joohyung Kim) has an alignment aid printed right on the cover. You can even buy multicoloured balls, like the Srixon Q-Star Divide balls, where the dividing line between the colours acts as a 360-degree golf ball alignment marker.

If you have monochrome balls that you want to mark up, you could use a humble permanent marker. You can even buy golf ball marking tools to help you draw a straight line right in the centre of the ball.

Alternatively, we can print an alignment line on your balls for you!

Alignment Golf Balls