Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Ask Linda #1357-Failure to notice dropping zone

Hi Linda,
We had an interesting situation today during our weekly round of golf. I was hoping you could help. One of the guys in our group hit his second shot on a par 4 into a creek. He then proceeded to hit 2 more balls into the creek. His partner then went ahead over the creek and happened to see a sign on the other side that said "drop area." (As this was the first time we played this course, no one knew there was a drop area and we were not looking for it as it is a par 4 and this is rather unusual). In addition, there was nothing on the scorecard that identifies this hole as having a drop zone. The player then wanted to use the drop zone, but not count the strokes he had hit previous to realizing there was a drop zone on the other side of the creek. What is the ruling (if any) on this? How should it be played? Does the fact that there is a drop zone negate all shots the player has made? In a friendly game, I think most people would let the player use the drop zone, especially in this situation where no one really knows the course. But because we were playing for money, it got a little testy. 

Any thoughts would be appreciated.

Lou from Chicago, Illinois

Dear Lou,

I’m not inclined to suspend the Rules of Golf in a “friendly” game, Lou. All rounds should be friendly, and all rounds should observe the Rules.

The presence of a Dropping Zone does not erase the player’s failed attempts to hit over the hazard. Since the player’s second shot entered the hazard, as well as his third and fourth shots, his next stroke will be his eighth on the hole.

I am not happy with the placement of a Dropping Zone on the green side of a water hazard. Assuming this was a yellow-staked hazard, no player should be given a “free ride” over the hazard.

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