Can I Drop on my Line of Flight?

We have all struck a wayward shot that veered off course into the undesirable parts of the course. Often times, the ball ends up being lost and we must go back to where we previously played or take some other relief option adding one penalty stroke to our score for the hole.

However, several people have asked me if they could go ahead and drop it on the line of flight?

“Line of flight” I ask?

Inevitably responded to by “Yea, you know, anywhere along the path where the ball flew through the air”.

The answer to that question is an unequivocal NO!


There is no such thing as dropping on the line of flight for what you and I are doing on the golf course.

Our current relief procedures allow us to drop:

  • As near as possible to where we last played, or
  • Behind a reference point, keeping that point between where we drop and the hole, going back as far as we would like while staying on the course, or
  • Within two club-lengths of a reference point no nearer the hole, or
  • Within one club-length of a reference point no nearer the hole, or

Some additional relief procedures allow us to place a ball; sometimes on a putting green and sometimes off.

However, for the purpose of this Rules article, get dropping on the line of flight out of your head! No such thing; notta, never, zero, zippo, zilch…...capisce?

Hopefully, I’ll never get that question again. And if you do, tell them I said no way!

Remember, use the index or the table of contents to find the correct rule that applies to the situation and follow the Rules of Golf to help yourself to enjoy the game of golf.

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