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Golf/Ball Drop


  I had a situation last week where I hit an approach shot into the woods behind the green and the ball was unplayable and O.B.
I then dropped the ball a club length nearest the point in which the ball had went into the brush. Here's where it got a little fuzzy for us... I dropped the ball with my arms extended to shoulder height. The drop was on top of a downhill slope leading onto the green. As you can imagine, the ball rolled all the way down the slope and onto the green. The ball wouldn't even stay if it was placed on the slope because it was so steep. Now, what should I have done in this situation? Is it a legal drop? There was also no designated drop zone.

Thank you,
Rick Clausen

Hi Rick:  If what you mean by O.B. is out of bounds, you only have one option and that is to return to the spot you hit that shot from and play another, adding a 1 shot penalty.

If the original was not O.B. and unplayable, you have 3 options:
1.  Drop a ball within 2 club-lengths from WHERE THE BALL LIES, no nearer the hole;
2.  Keep the spot where the ball lies between you and the hole and drop a ball on that line with
   no limit to how far you go.  Except that you can't play a ball from O.B.
3.  Invoke the stroke and distance rule and play from where you played the shot.

You're confusing 2 rules here as well; the only time the point of entry comes into play is when dealing with water hazards.  In your situation and all others, the point where the ball lies determines your course of action.

As for a ball that is dropped and rolls closer to the hole, or rolls more than 2 club-lengths from where the ball hits the ground, you find the nearest spot, no closer to the hole (in bounds)where you can drop without the ball rolling closer.  In your case you may have had to move all the way to the side or the front of the green.

Hope this is understandable, sometimes the rules get quite involved and complicated.

Fairways and Greens,



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John Brott


PGA Golf Professional willing to discuss your problems and offer suggestions. Particularly those golfers experiencing pain either during or after a round. Prior Head Instructor: Chi Chi Rodriguez Youth Foundation Winner: 1996 Naional Senior Club Professional Championship


PGA Member since 1982 Winner 1996 Senior Club Professional Championship Former Head Instructor- Chi Chi Rodriguez Youth Foundation Will compete in the PGA Seniors Championship and the National Club Professional Championshi this year.

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