Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Ask Linda #717a-Follow-up question to #717

Hi Linda,

Could you please let me know if this player [Ask Linda #717] incurs a penalty stroke if he has to re-drop the ball after placing it and finding that he still has interference from the condition from which he was taking relief? As I understand it, the ball is in play the after he places it. 

Also, assuming the player takes a drop within one club-length and the ball rolls away from the drop point but stopped within 3 club length, he has to play the ball as it lies but if he is unfortunate enough to land the ball on a very bad patch or behind say a tree or some bushes, what option does he have? Another free drop or a penalty drop? I think it is the latter but I still do want your confirmation.

Kind regards,
Lou from Malaysia

Dear Lou,

A ball is in play as soon as it has been dropped or placed correctly.

A ball that has been dropped or placed in the wrong place but not played may be lifted without penalty [Rule 20-6]. The player in yesterday's column [Ask Linda #717-Foot on cart path after relief] clearly did not drop his ball in the correct place, i.e., where he would get complete relief from the cart path. He must start the process again, determining the nearest point of complete relief before he drops the ball (and possibly re-drops and then places the ball).

After dropping the ball, it must be re-dropped if it rolls more than two club-lengths from the spot where it hit the ground, not three. If it settles within two club-lengths in an unplayable area, the player may try to play it as it lies or declare the ball unplayable. Taking relief for an unplayable ball includes a one-stroke penalty [Rule 28].

Once again, I must caution readers to assess their relief options before they lift their ball. The shot from the cart path may be infinitely more preferable to a shot from the brambles. Once you lift your ball in play, you will incur a one-stroke penalty if you decide not to take relief and replace it in its original position [Decision 18-2a/12].

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