What's All the Hype about Dropping in the Proposed New Rules?
Well, there’s a lot of hype about it so let’s get into some of the nuts and bolts about what is being proposed under the revised Rules of Golf for 2019.
First of all, dropping itself is going to change. Under the current Rules, you must stand erect, hold the ball at arm’s length and shoulder height and let it go.
Under the proposed new Rules, you will be able to drop a ball from any height while standing, sitting, or squatting and facing in any direction as long as the ball falls through the air. It is recommended that the ball be dropped from at least one inch above the ground or any growing thing or artificial object.
Secondly, where the ball is dropped is going to change as well. Instead of “as near as possible”, “on a line”, “within one club-length” or “within two club-lengths”, the ball will be dropped in a “relief area.” The relief area will be determined from a reference point or line depending on the applicable Rule.
There will be two different sized relief areas.
One will be no nearer the hole and within twenty inches (20”) of either a reference point or a reference line. This will replace the old “as near as possible” - e.g. embedded balls, playing from where you last played under stroke and distance, “on a line” - e.g. dropping on a line behind a hazard or taking an unplayable, and “within one club-length” - e.g. cart paths and casual water.
The other relief area will be no nearer the hole and within eighty inches (80”) of a reference point. This one replaces the old “within two club-lengths” - e.g. relief from a lateral water hazard or an unplayable ball option.
If these changes take place, you’ll need to have a measuring device of some sort for your 20” and 80”. We may see club manufacturers placing a mark on drivers at 20” and 40” or devices such as an alignment rod being calibrated to assist in measuring. Who knows?
Remember, it pays to know the Rules. Knowing the Rules of Golf can help you save strokes and enjoy the game of golf.