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Yes, you are allowed to do so. It used to be very common in the early days of the game, and was very common in the 40's 50's 60's and 70's. The problem is though, they used to do it with bullseye type putters, today we have mallet and blade putters which are a lot chunkier so watch you don't hit the ball. But it is legal.

But now, you get a one stroke penalty for doing it.

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Q: Grounding putter in front of the ball?
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