When do I Re-Drop?

Most of the time you drop a ball for some reason and then you start playing golf again. What happens when are required to re-drop a ball if something doesn’t go right?

First of all, a ball when dropped must strike a part of the course where the applicable Rule requires it to be dropped. Some Rules require you to drop within two club-lengths, some within one club-length and others as near as possible to a designated spot or a line. That spot may be

  • its original or estimated position,
  • the nearest point of relief or maximum available relief,
  • where a ball last crossed the margin of a hazard, or
  • on a line keeping the point where the ball lay directly between the hole and the spot on which the ball is dropped.

If the ball when dropped does not strike a part of the course where the applicable Rule requires, you’ll need to try again until you get it right. It doesn’t count as a drop for these purposes.

Also, if the ball when dropped touches any person or the equipment of any person before or after it strikes a part of the course and before it comes to rest, the ball must again be re-dropped without penalty. Otherwise, you will have played from a wrong place resulting in a loss of hole penalty in match play or a two stroke penalty in stroke play.

There is no limit on the number of drops you take to get either of these right. Just keep doing it until you get one into play correctly, then go ahead and play golf again.

Also, there are seven times that when you 1) drop correctly the first time, 2) it contacts a part of the course where the Rule requires, and 3) it doesn’t hit anyone or their equipment, but you’ll still need to re-drop the ball.

Those seven times a dropped ball must be re-dropped, without penalty, are if it:

1)      rolls into and comes to rest in a hazard (water hazard or bunker);

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 to and comes to rest in a position whee 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 a 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;

7)      rolls and comes to rest nearer the hole than:

a)      its original position or estimated position (see Rule 20-2b) unless otherwise permitted by the Rules; or

b)      the nearest point of relief or maximum available relief (Rule 24-2b, 25-1 or 25-3); or

c)      the point where the ball last crossed the margin of the hazard or lateral water hazard (Rule 26-1)

If you drop it and any of these seven things happen, you must re-drop it. If upon re-dropping, any one of these seven things happens again, you’ll then be required to place it as near as possible to where it struck a part of the course on the re-drop. Keep in mind drop, re-drop, then place.

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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