We explain the dropping and measuring procedures to use out on the golf course when taking relief

Golf Rules Explained: Dropping And Measuring

When the new Rules of Golf came into play on Jan 1, 2019 and there were two big changes regarding the dropping and measuring procedures.

From 2019, we now drop the ball from knee height rather than shoulder height, while club-length measurements must be made with the longest club you are carrying for that round other than the putter.

Below, we go into more detail on these two newer Rules, but before that, you might want to take a look at our video of what we think are the 7 most important golf rules…

Dropping procedure


When taking free or penalty relief, the ball had to be dropped from shoulder height and then first strike a part of the course within the one- or two-club-length relief area.

It could then roll up to another two club-lengths not nearer the hole from where it first struck a part of the course.

From 2019

Drops are now from knee height and the ball must come to rest within the relief area, without the additional two club-lengths.

If it doesn’t, you will need to drop once more before being allowed to place it. The idea is that this new procedure should prove easier to understand and also quicker, as the ball is more likely to remain within the relief area.

It also means you can no longer end up almost four club-lengths away from where the ball was lying, which potentially created a big advantage sometimes.

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Fixed distances to be use for measuring


Club-length measurements were not fixed and players could use any club to measure, allowing those with long putters to potentially gain an advantage.

From 2019

This potential measuring advantage had been a point of contention since long putters first appeared on the scene. So, club-lengths must now be measured using the longest club that you are carrying for that round with the exception of the putter.

Although there will obviously still be some differences in the length of players’ longest clubs (shorter clubs for ladies and juniors, for example), this will now significantly minimise the extent to which any  player could gain an advantage over another when measuring.

Related: 8 Rules Golfers Break Without Realising

For all the latest golf news and more rules content, check out the Golf Monthly website.