Sunday, March 4, 2012

Ask Linda #423a-Illegal Dropping Zone

Hi Linda,

Re Ask Linda #423–Improper dropping zone penalty:
Reading decision 33-8/2 - surely the drop zone should not be on "the other side of the water"?
Lou in South Africa

Dear Lou,

Surely it should not, Lou. If memory serves me correctly, I have addressed that issue at least once (probably more than once) in my columns.

Judging from this reader's question, I suspect that if there were not a Dropping Zone on the green side of the hazard, some of the players might have to pack their bags and go home when they reach this hole. They simply are unable hit a shot that will carry the water.

I cannot fault a golf course that locates a Dropping Zone in an "illegal" spot to enable players to complete their round. After all, they are in the business of making money and would like people to return to play again.

When I run a tournament on a course that has a Dropping Zone on the wrong side of the hazard, I do not permit players to use it. As you may have guessed by now, I am a stickler for the rules. However, I would not schedule a single-ball tournament on a course with particularly difficult forced carries.

From the content of the question, I surmised that the reader in #423 was a member of the club, as were the competitors. This was an individual tournament where the Committee was trying to come up with a rule for this troublesome Par 3 hole to keep the tournament fair for all players. Unfortunately, the rule they designed was not permissible under the Rules, and provided excessive, unfair penalties. I was trying to explain the correct relief procedure for using a Dropping Zone. I felt a discussion of the illegality of a Dropping Zone on the green side of a hazard was outside the scope of this question, would have muddied the waters, and would not have helped this particular group. Sometimes, a compromise is necessary to run a successful tournament.

Copyright © 2012 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.