RULE: Dropping a ball

You know when you are entitled to relief. You can determine where you are entitled to drop'. Now is there anything I should know about HOW I should be dropping the ball??

Firstly, how do I drop the ball??

In all cases, the ball must be held at arm's length, at shoulder height from an erect stance and dropped (not spun). You do not need to face the hole, but the ball must strike the ground within the allowed area, but it can travel up to 2 club lengths from this spot where it first hit the ground, but not finish nearer the hole than the problem point.

A simple way to determine your relief entitlement - if you are "paying" with a penalty eg dropping out of a lateral water hazard or from an unplayable lie, you may take up to a maximum of two club lengths. If you are obtaining "free" relief eg from casual water, you only get a maximum of one club length.

In this image I am dropping behind the water hazard keeping the point of entry and the green in line (I can drop back as far as I like, or can, maintaining this line.)

 But there are times when you may be required to re-drop. 

So, when do I re-drop?

The rules allow you to re-drop the ball when:

  • The ball comes to rest more than 2 club lengths from where the ball first struck the ground.
  • The ball comes to rest nearer the hole than the point of relief or the problem point.
  • The ball rolls back into the area from which relief is being taken e.g. abnormal ground condition (GUR) or a hazard. 



In this example, my ball finished on the roadway after my second shot into #7. So I can elect to take relief (you don't have to unless a local rule declares the spot an 'environmentally sensitive'). I drop my ball legally and it rolls to either A or B, I MUST re-drop the ball. Because I am standing on the road after the drop, the ball has rolled back into the condition from which I am taking relief and I MUST re-drop. If the ball finishes as in image on the right, the ball is back in play.

 In this case, I have dropped my ball but it has rolled back towards the hazard. It is still no nearer the hole than the point of entry and it is outside the hazard, but when I take my stance now, I have my left foot in the hazard. Do I get a re-drop or do I have to play the ball as it lies?

Simple answer - the ball is in play, have a shot.


However, if taking relief according to the rules from an unplayable lie, the ball MUST be played from where it finishes - if it rolls back to the troublesome area - bad luck



Other cases where you are required to take a re-drop:

  • The ball rolls onto a green or into, or out of a hazard.
  • The ball rolls out of bounds.
  • The ball strikes any player or any player's equipment.
  • The ball was dropped incorrectly or dropped in a wrong place.
  • What happens if you drop the ball for the second time (the re-drop) and you still do not have proper relief (as in examples 1 - 5 above)?

Now you must place the ball on the spot where the second ball landed. There is no limit to how many times you re-drop for conditions 6 & 7, without penalty.

It is interesting to note that if dropping in a drop zone (such as the back of #9 green), the ball may roll outside the marked area. It has to hit the ground in the marked area, but may roll up to 2 club lengths away, even to a spot nearer the hole! The ball is now in play!