Playing a Ball Incorrectly Dropped
A recent enquiry concerned whether a penalty was incurred when a player played a ball that had been incorrectly dropped.
Q. Having dropped the ball from shoulder height, I have then hit the ball. I think that could be a PENALTY. If you have dropped the ball from shoulder height and realise your mistake you pick up the ball and drop from the knee and then hit the ball, I think no penalty. Would this be correct please?
A. Under the Rules of Golf 2019 you are allowed to correct a mistake before a breach of rule happens, if this is done before you make a stroke at your ball then no penalty may apply.
If you do not correct your mistake before you make a stroke at your ball, then penalties may be incurred.
In the case mentioned the penalty that would be incurred would depend upon where the ball came to rest and was played from. So:
- Decide upon the appropriate relief area in which to drop your ball.
- If your ball is dropped incorrectly i.e. not from knee-height or within the relief area, you may lift your ball and drop it as many times as you like, until you drop it correctly
- If, however, you drop your ball incorrectly and then play it, a penalty is incurred and the level of penalty will depend on where the ball came to rest and was played from:
- If your ball comes to rest within the appropriate relief area and is played from within the relief area then the penalty incurred is 1 Penalty-stroke, both in Match Play and Stroke Play
- If your ball, however, comes to rest outside the appropriate relief area and you play it from that spot, you incur the General Penalty of 2 Penalty-strokes in Stroke Play or Loss of Hole in match Play
Enjoy your golf
Rules Blog: www.my-golf.uk
2 Replies to “Rules of Golf – Playing a Ball Incorrectly Dropped”
if the ball comes to rest in GUR, relief is taken, the ball is dropped incorrectly from waist height, then played, what is the penalty and if the player does not adjust the score with that penalty and signs the scorecard what is the total penalty, IE, 2 strokes and disqualification for signing incorrect scorecard,
Mike, on your first point: Incorrectly dropping a ball from waist-height
If the player does not drop again and instead makes a stroke at the ball from where it came to rest after being dropped in a wrong way:
• If the ball was played from the relief area, the player gets one penalty stroke (but has not played from a wrong place under Rule 14.7a).
• But if the ball was played from outside the relief area, or after it was placed when required to be dropped (no matter where it was played from), the player gets the general penalty.
On your second point; what is the penalty and if the player does not adjust the score with that penalty and signs the scorecard what is the total penalty?
The penalty that would be imposed depends on whether the player returns a score higher or lower than her/his actual score for a hole or was unaware/aware that s/he had incurred a penalty or not.
If the player returns a scorecard with a wrong score for any hole:
• Returned Score Higher Than Actual Score. The higher returned score for the hole stands.
• Returned Score Lower Than Actual Score or No Score Returned. The player is disqualified.
However. there is an exception to this ruling if the player is unaware that they have incurred a penalty.
Exception – Failure to Include Unknown Penalty: If one or more of the player’s hole scores are lower than the actual scores because they excluded one or more penalty strokes that the player did not know about before returning the scorecard:
• The player is not disqualified.
• Instead, if the mistake is found before the close of the competition, the Committee will revise the player’s score for that hole or holes by adding the penalty stroke(s) that should have been included in the score for that hole or holes under the Rules.