Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Ask Linda #1684-Dropped ball moves forward

Dear readers,
I have added this link ( to #1682. Please click on it to learn everything you need to know about tees.

I seemed to have stirred up a debate at our local club regarding Rule 20-2c, the rule when to re-drop. Player A hit a ball into a lateral water hazard (red stakes). By all accounts he correctly determined the correct place to drop and did so in a legal manner. However, the ball struck the ground and hopped/rolled 2 ball widths (4 to 5 inches) towards the hole. Player B in our group immediately stated: "that was an illegal drop – you must re-drop." As player A reached to pick his ball up I quickly countered - "there was nothing at all illegal about that drop, don't touch your ball." We attempted a discussion and I finally got out my rulebook and said: "Under the above stated rule please show me which of the 7 items made that an illegal drop.” Player B read through the options and stated sub-rule vii (a): “if a ball rolls closer to the hole than its original position or estimated position unless otherwise permitted by the Rules.” I informed Player B the ball has not come closer to the hole than its original position in the hazard [I also showed him vii(c) which is more applicable to this issue]. Player B then informed me I was completely wrong, saying that the ball hit the ground (calling this the point of original position) and then rolled towards the hole, which makes it an illegal drop. Just to note for no confusion - the ball did not stop then go forward, it was all one motion as the ball was dropped. We have asked some pros in the area. Unfortunately Player B has found one that supports his thoughts. Please let me know if I am wrong, or if possible is there a prominent decision that I could show them? Thank you for this blog - truly love it!!
Lou from Driggs, Idaho

Dear Lou,

When the Rules indicate a specific area in which to drop a ball, a player whose ball rolls forward but remains within the front confines of that area is a good drop. A ball that rolls forward must not be re-dropped unless it rolls forward of the prescribed area. In the case of a lateral water hazard, the ball would have to be re-dropped if it rolled closer to the hole than the point where the original ball last crossed the margin of the hazard.

Let’s look at the two-club-length relief option for a ball in a lateral hazard. The player in your narrative has correctly identified the area in which he must drop the ball. In the case of a lateral hazard, this two-club-length area will look more or less like a quarter circle. If the player drops his ball near the straight edge of this quarter circle that is closest to the hole, and the ball rolls forward, towards the hole, beyond this edge, he must re-drop. If he drops the ball towards the rear of this quarter circle, and the ball rolls forward but not beyond the front edge, it is a good drop and the ball is in play. This is what is meant by Rule 20-2c (vii), and applies to any drop that is limited to a prescribed area.

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