Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Ask Linda #1500-Dropping Zone for island green

Hello Linda,
At a course I play regularly there is a par 4 that is about 270 yards long to the green from the tees I play. The green is a true island green with only a metal bridge for players to cross over for access. 

The club has designated a drop zone just outside the fringe on the island itself. If the back of the green is 12 o'clock and the front edge is 6 o'clock, the drop zone is at 4 o'clock. I would like to know how to utilize the drop zone.

I have always played that I need to have at least reached the island before dropping in the drop zone. Meaning physically make contact with the island before entering the water. If I come up short, left, right, or long and go straight into the water (kerplunk!) I just drop from the "shore" and try to cross the water again.

Should I be heading straight towards the drop zone anytime it enters the water? 

Should I head towards the drop zone as long as the ball at least crosses the front edge of the island? So only short balls would need to be dropped across the water?

A friend once said, there is a drop zone and to just try and reach the green because if you go in the water you get to drop on the green anyway. That just didn't seem right to me unless I had actually touched the island first. It's about 220 to reach the water, so if you just rolled it in to the water, seems odd that you would get to drop 50 yards closer to the hole on the island and out of "danger".

I have yet to ask the club if the drop zone is mandatory or not and I don't believe it is marked as a lateral hazard.

Lou from Phoenix, Arizona

Dear Lou,

If it is known or virtually certain that your ball is in the water hazard, and the Committee has provided a Dropping Zone (DZ), you are entitled to drop a ball in the DZ, adding a one-stroke penalty to your score for the hole.

The question you must ask yourself is: “Where is the ball?” If your answer is: “The ball is in the hazard,” you may avail yourself of any of the relief options for a ball in a water hazard.

There is no requirement that your ball touch land on the other side of the hazard in order to play from the DZ. Please read about Dropping Zones in Appendix I, Part A, #6, on page 152 in the 2016 rulebook.

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