Rules of Golf – Playing a Ball Incorrectly Dropped

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:

  1. Decide upon the appropriate relief area in which to drop your ball.
  2. 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
  3. 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

Tony

Email: tony@my-golf.uk

Rules Blog: www.my-golf.uk

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