Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Ask Linda #1769-Questionable Dropping Zone

Hi Linda,
I enjoy your posts regarding golf rules. I pride myself in boasting to my colleagues about rules of golf that I learned from your website every time we play.

We have a scenario where we do not know how to go about a certain ruling. We are playing a par 4-hole 330 yards long. A creek or a pond across the fairway is about 110 yards to the green. It is marked with red stakes (lateral hazard). There is a designated drop area past the water hazard located on the right side, 40 yards to the green. One of my fellow competitors, who is a big hitter, can belt it more than 300 yards away. He says that if he is going for the green hitting from the tee box and claims that if his drive does not make it to the green and goes into the water hazard instead, he is entitled to drop a ball in the drop area close to the green with a one-stroke penalty. Is this correct? My other fellow competitors say that he should drop two club-lengths from the point of entry where his ball entered the water with a one-stroke penalty. Which is correct? Appreciate your response to clear the matter for us. Thank you.

Lou from Toronto, Canada

Dear Lou,

One of the relief options for a ball in a lateral water hazard is to drop within two club-lengths of the point where the ball last crossed the margin of the hazard under penalty of one stroke [Rule 26-1c]. Your fellow competitors are correct in mentioning this relief option.

The Committee has the option of establishing a Dropping Zone (DZ) as an additional (or mandatory) relief option [Appendix I, Part A, #6]. I have to assume that there was good reason to establish a DZ in the location chosen by the Committee (one legitimate reason might be that there is no spot to drop a ball within two club-lengths of the point where the ball last crossed the margin of the hazard without dropping nearer to the hole). When the Committee has designated a legitimate DZ, a player whose ball lies in the hazard has the option to drop a ball in the DZ. The player in your scenario is entitled to use the DZ.

If the configuration of the hazard is such that it is possible to drop a ball under the requirements of Rule 26-1c, and you feel that the location of the DZ only 40 yards from the green is neither necessary nor fair, you should discuss your concerns with the Committee. Perhaps they will explain the necessity of this DZ to your satisfaction, or they might consider your objection and decide to eliminate the DZ.

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