Can You Use a Club Other than the Putter on Putting Green?

Phil Mickelson of the USA chips on the 18th green during the afternoon foursome matches on the first day of the 2002 Ryder Cup
Phil Mickelson uses a wedge and plays a chip shot off the putting green at the 2002 Ryder Cup. Stephen Munday/Getty Images

Are you only allowed to putt using a putter? Or, when your ball is on the putting green, can you use any club you want to play the stroke?

The Rules of Golf allow the use of any golf club to play any golf shot. If you want, you can tee off using a putter and putt using a driver. Wouldn't be very smart! But it's perfectly permissible under the rules.

In fact, sometimes you have no choice but to use a club other than the putter when on the putting green. For example, if your putter breaks during a round and you are unable to replace it, you'll have to putt using something other than putter. In that situation, many pros prefer to "putt" with a wedge, striking the golf ball at its equator with the leading edge of the wedge (blading it, in other words).

Infamously, Ben Crenshaw broke his putter in anger during a match in the 1987 Ryder Cup and spent the rest of the match putting with his sand wedge or 1-iron. (He lost the match.)

If the Green Is Oddly Shaped...

Another scenario you occasionally (rarely) see on the pro tours: a green with severe slopes and an odd shape, where the break on a long putt is so great that the golfer would have to putt off the green in order to play the proper break. Some pros, in that situation, will play a chip shot or pitch shot from the putting surface. In the photo above, Phil Mickelson is doing just that during the 2002 Ryder Cup.

Unfortunately, unlike Mickelson, most of us won't be able to take a perfect divot that can easily be replaced on the putting surface. Most of us would dig up a good portion of turf and do great damage to the green.

So before you try something similar, ask yourself - if you're not a highly skilled player - if it's really worth the potential damage to the green.

But again: According the Rules of Golf, there are no prohibitions on the type of club to be used on putting surfaces.

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