Can I Drop It There?

If I am going to drop a ball under a Rule, but the cart path is in the way, do I have to drop it on the cart path or can I just drop it on the other side of the cart path?

That’s a very good question and it comes up all of the time. Let’s take a look at a few examples.

  • I hit my ball into a lateral (red) water hazard and I elect to drop a ball within two club-lengths of where it last crossed the margin of the lateral water hazard; no nearer the hole (Rule 26-1c). Regrettably, the cart path is in the way. What should I do?
  • I hit my ball into a bush. I declare my ball “unplayable” and decide to drop a ball behind the point where the ball lies, keeping the point between the hole and where I eventually drop. I go back to my favorite yardage, 90 yards, and want to drop but the cart path is in the way. What should I do?
  • I hit my ball into a puddle of casual water. I find my nearest point of relief so that I can take free relief (Rule 25-1b). I know I have to drop it within one club-length of that point but the cart path is in the way. What should I do?

In all three of these examples, you go ahead and drop the ball on the cart path. As long as it satisfies the dropping requirement of each Rule; within two club-lengths, on a line or within one club-length of the appropriate reference point, the drop is a legal one.

Now, if the ball comes to rest on the cart path after making the drop, go ahead and take free relief from the cart path (Rule 24-2b). However, in 99% of all cases, it must be done in two steps.

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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