Monday, August 1, 2016

Ask Linda #1351- Dropping on the flagline

Hi Linda,

Although you may have addressed this situation in the past, I don’t recall seeing it.

While officiating at a recent low-handicap, amateur tournament, I was surprised at the number of competitors who were not aware of the correct dropping procedure after their ball entered a water hazard (yellow stakes).

Although many were aware of the terms: “behind the water hazard” and “no limit to how far behind the water hazard,” very few were aware of:
Dropping on the straight line from the point of entry to the hole (the flagline), and
The correct dropping procedure of standing on the flagline, facing the hole, extending the arm at shoulder height towards the hole and THEN dropping ON the flagline.

Standing on the flagline and dropping to the side would result in playing from a wrong place. Perhaps you could address this a little more concisely for your readers.

Thank you,
Lou from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Dear Lou,

Dropping a ball on the flagline means precisely that – you must drop the ball on that line. After your drop, you must re-drop only if your ball rolls to a spot requiring a re-drop [see Rule 20-2c]. However, there is no requirement, as you suggest, that the player stand on the flagline and face the hole. He may stand anywhere that will facilitate a drop on the line. Rule 20-2 (which explains how to drop a ball) only requires that the player “stand erect, hold the ball at shoulder height and at arm’s length, and drop it.”

Dropping on the flagline, or at the spot where you hit your previous shot (stroke and distance), or when taking relief for an embedded ball, is different from relief procedures where you must drop within a prescribed area (e.g., relief from abnormal ground conditions, immovable obstructions, or an unplayable lie). In the former, you must drop in a precise location; in the latter, you are dropping within one club-length of the nearest point of relief or within two club-lengths (depending on the situation).

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