Monday, April 16, 2018
Ask Linda #1741-Drop a ball without measuring
Recently, a player took relief from a lateral cart path that runs directly across the fairway before the green. As her ball was on or near the cart path (green side), and the path interfered with her swing or stance, she picked up her ball and dropped it from shoulder height onto the far side of the cart path (no closer to the hole) while standing on the cart path facing away from the green.
This was done without marking or measuring in any manner. Because of that, the fellow competitor in stroke play suggested that the ball was either played from the wrong place (20-7) or the ball at rest was moved (18-2). The fellow competitor said that picking up a ball in play and dropping it without reference to the NPR or one club-length left the dropped ball's position ambiguous.
The issue was that the player just picked up her ball and dropped it on the other side of the cart path. (By luck, this very well could have been dropped within one club-length of the NPR).
We teach a method called “stance, swing, mark & drop” to our players so that there is no question as to dropping procedure. Unfortunately, that method was not used. Is the drop correct or is the fellow competitor correct?
Lulu from British Columbia, Canada
The player may have dropped correctly.
When a player takes relief from an immovable obstruction (also from an “abnormal ground condition” or a “wrong putting green”), the player is not required to follow the recommended procedure to determine the NPR that is explained in the Note to the Definition of “Nearest Point of Relief.” As long as the drop meets the requirements of the Rule [in your case, Rule 24-2b (i)], and does not roll into a position requiring a re-drop (see Rule 20-2c), the drop is good [Decision 24-2b/2].
In other words, if the player in your scenario dropped the ball behind the cart path within one club-length of the nearest point of relief simply by estimating that spot, and the ball didn’t roll somewhere it shouldn’t (see Rule 20-2c), it doesn’t matter that she didn’t follow the recommended measuring procedure.
I would recommend that you read and study Decision 24-2b/2.
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