When Do I Have to Re-Drop?

I had a recent inquiry about whether or not to re-drop a ball.

The situation was that a player, in taking relief from a lateral water hazard, dropped her ball outside of the hazard and within two club-lengths of where her ball last crossed the margin of the hazard (red line). After the ball struck the proper area in which it was required to be dropped, it rolled back into the hazard but not into the water itself. It came to rest in a good lie on the grass covered portion of ground in the lateral water hazard.

The question then became, could she play the ball as it lies or was she required to re-drop?

The answer is she must re-drop the ball. If you were to play the ball from the hazard, you would be considered to have played from a wrong place (Rule 20-7) and would lose the hole in match play or incur an additional two stroke penalty in stroke play.

However, where can we find that in the Rule book?

Rule 20 - Lifting, Dropping and Placing; Playing from Wrong Place covers this situation and particularly the second section (20-2c) gives us guidance on dropping and when to re-drop.

Now assuming the ball is dropped in the correct place and does not touch anyone or any player’s equipment, these are the times a ball must be re-dropped. If it:

  1. rolls into and comes to rest in a hazard;
  2. rolls out of and comes to rest outside a hazard;
  3. rolls onto and comes to rest on a putting green;
  4. rolls and comes to rest out of bounds;
  5. rolls and comes to rest in a position where there is interference by the condition from which relief was taken under Rule 24-2b (immovable obstruction), Rule 25-1 (abnormal ground conditions), Rule 25-3 (wrong putting green) or a Local Rule (Rule 33-8a), or rolls back into the pitch-mark from which it was lifted under Rule 25-2 (embedded ball);
  6. rolls and comes to rest more than two club-lengths from where it first struck a part of the course; or
  7. rolls and comes to rest nearer the hole than:
    1. its original position or estimated position (see Rule 20-2b) unless otherwise permitted by the Rules; or
    2. the nearest point of relief or maximum available relief (Rule 24-2, 25-1 or 25-3); or
    3. the point where the original ball last crossed the margin of the water hazard or lateral water hazard (Rule 26-1)

If after you re-drop the ball and one of these seven things happens again, only then are you allowed to place the ball at the spot on the course where the ball first struck the course on the re-drop (second drop).

Remember, dropping the ball is simple if you just follow the Rules of Golf. Knowing the Rules can help you save strokes and enjoy the game of golf.

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