21 June 2016

Drop Your Ball!

You are playing a round. The game is going ok. That is, until you hit a wayward shot and find your ball in a water hazard, a situation where you cannot play it, or a place where you need to take relief from a condition like GUR or a cart path. So, now what?!

There are procedures to put the ball back into play, should you need to take relief. The most common procedure involves dropping the ball.

How to drop:

A ball must be dropped by the player themself. The player must stand straight with their arm fully extended at shoulder height then drop the ball. If a ball is dropped by any other person, or in any other manner and the error is not corrected, the player incurs a penalty of one stroke (Rule of Golf: 20-6).

When to drop:

Some conditions that require you to drop the ball or a ball:

  • Relief from Water Hazard/Lateral Water Hazard
  • Relief from embedded ball
  • Relief unplayable ball
  • Relief from abnormal ground conditions
  • Relief from immovable obstructions
  • Relief from temporary immovable obstruction (TIO)
  • Taking stroke and distance procedure (except from tees and greens)

Where to Drop

Depending on the relief option, the procedure requires the ball or a ball to be dropped:

  • as near as possible to a specific spot. Not nearer to the hole than the specific spot.
  • In a defined area. Not nearer to the hole than point of reference.

When to Re-Drop

After you drop the ball or a ball, the ball is back in play. However, it may sometimes not be back in play correctly and you will need to re-drop the ball.

The conditions that require you to re-drop the ball:

  • the ball rolls more than two club lengths away from where it first struck a part of the course
  • It rolls into a hazard
  • It rolls out of a hazard
  • It rolls onto the green
  • It rolls out of bounds
  • It rolls into the same position where relief was taken
  • It rolls nearer the hole than the reference point


The term “the ball” refers to the original ball while “a ball” refers to another ball (substitute ball).

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