One-Club Length or Two?

Many times I have been asked this very simple question for which there is not a simple answer.

“Do you drop it within one club-length when there is no penalty and within two club-lengths when there is?”

The answer to this question is the same answer to many questions about the Rules of Golf; it depends.

If you are taking free relief, you may be:

a)    Dropping within one club-length of a reference point (i.e. cart path  relief), or

b)    Dropping as near as possible to a spot (i.e. relief for an embedded ball); not within one club-length, or

c)    Placing at the nearest spot that avoids interference (i.e. casual water relief on the putting green); once again not within one club-length. 

If you are paying the golf gods a penalty stroke in taking relief, you may be:

a)    Dropping within two club-lengths of a reference point (i.e. third option of an unplayable ball or a lateral water hazard), or

b)    Dropping as near as possible to an imaginary line keeping a reference point between you and the flagstick and going back as far as you want (i.e. second option of an unplayable ball or second option of the water hazard Rule)

c)    Playing another ball from where you last played (stroke and distance) and it will depend from which part of the course you last played on how to proceed:

a.     From the teeing ground – it may be played from anywhere within the teeing ground from the surface of the ground or from a tee

b.     From through the green or a hazard – it must be dropped

c.     From the putting green – it must be placed 

No wonder the best players in the world need Rules Officials on the golf course!

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

Now go ahead and drop it!

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