Golf Rules Explained: Dropping And Measuring

We explain the dropping and measuring techniques to use out on the golf course.

Golf Rules Explained: Dropping And Measuring
(Image credit: Golf Monthly)

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.

More New 'Golf Rules Explained' features...

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.

James Jankowski
Top 50 Coach

Location: Old Fold Manor 

James has been coaching golf for 10 years and specialising in putting for more than six. In the past three years James has worked with more than 3000 golfers, including more than 200 professionals. If he was to single out a success it would be seeing Jamie Rutherford win the EuroPro Tour order of merit this year after working together for the past three years. His philosophy is simple – 'We do whatever it takes to make each individual better on the greens.’ 

A typical lesson:

It almost doesn’t exist, due to each session being catered to the individual. However, the general structure of a new client may be similar. I would start with an analysis of their current putting game. This would involve using video analysis, Capto and Quintic data, hitting putts from varying distances and break directions, asking appropriate questions the whole time. My goal in the opening 15-20 minutes of a session, is to understand the areas within which the client can find the biggest and fastest gains. I’m not just looking at their technique, I’m looking at their process and routines, asking them about their approach, and more. 

Analysis of performance:

Keeping putting stats is extremely important to be able to notice tendencies and trends. My favourite stats app being Spider Putt. This allows me to notice these trends for specific putts, by both distance and slope amount. I have also composed a document of performance games for students to do during sessions or in their own time. This allows for in depth assessment over time in specific areas. 

Most common problem: 

Probably speed control. This usually starts with a lack of understanding of what they should be trying to achieve. More often than not, if they can fully understand what their goal is with acceleration in the stroke, they have a far greater chance of achieving it. I also have a bunch of great drills to help them improve their technique and enhance their skills.