Rules of Golf: Dropping and Re-dropping


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In most rounds of golf you play, you will probably have to take a drop at some stage, either as free relief from a certain interfering condition or perhaps as a penalty drop when you have hit your ball into a penalty area or had to deem it unplayable.

Firstly, if you drop your ball and it touches your body or equipment before it strikes a part of the course and comes to rest, you must re-drop without penalty. So, if your dropped ball strikes the leg of your standbag on the way down, don’t panic! Certainly, since knee-height dropping came into play we have had questions from people who have dropped balls that have struck them or their equipment before landing. Don’t worry, just re-drop. But if your ball touches any person, equipment or other outside influence after landing, but remains within the relief area, you do not need to re-drop.

A good idea is to find your reference point and then mark out your dropping area (either one or two club lengths depending on the circumstances) using tee pegs – this is your relief area and your ball must both land and remain within it.

Penalty Areas: How to Proceed Under Rule 17

Of course, you must now drop from knee height and you are not allowed to spin or manipulate the ball in any way to find a better lie – it must fall straight down from your fingers. You also cannot drop the ball outside the relief area on a slope thinking it will bounce back in. The ball must land in the area you have marked out.

Finally, what should you do if you take a drop and the ball lands inside but then rolls out of the relief area? Well, under the 2019 rules of golf, you should re-drop… If the same happens again, you should place the ball on the spot where the last drop hit the ground. If the ball then rolls away, place it again. If the same happens, find the nearest spot (not nearer the hole and in the same area of the course where you are dropping) where the ball will remain stationary.