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joekelly

How big the 'drop zone'?

20 posts in this topic

Many 'drop zones' on my course, par 3, 4 and 5.  All in place to favor faster play due to incredible time demands on the course.  Going backwards to the last tee box not permitted, except in certain competitions when the course is closed to the public. Usually the drop zone is near the middle of the fairway, sometimes not quite up to the beginning of the fairway.  Not infrequently the drop zone is well beyond anyone's drive. Zones are marked with small placards spiked into the ground. I play them as i would a 'tee box' , extending about 2 club lengths back of the placards. Everyone is a bit casual here and someone might toss the ball and toe it around to find a good spot, but never beyond the placards. The zones are great time savers as a ball into the local bush is  90% un-findable and searching a massive time waster.  Add one stroke. Few out of bounds here,  mostly lateral water hazards or deep bush/woods.

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Many 'drop zones' on my course, par 3, 4 and 5.  All in place to favor faster play due to incredible time demands on the course.  Going backwards to the last tee box not permitted, except in certain competitions when the course is closed to the public. Usually the drop zone is near the middle of the fairway, sometimes not quite up to the beginning of the fairway.  Not infrequently the drop zone is well beyond anyone's drive. Zones are marked with small placards spiked into the ground. I play them as i would a 'tee box' , extending about 2 club lengths back of the placards. Everyone is a bit casual here and someone might toss the ball and toe it around to find a good spot, but never beyond the placards. The zones are great time savers as a ball into the local bush is  90% un-findable and searching a massive time waster.  Add one stroke. Few out of bounds here,  mostly lateral water hazards or deep bush/woods.

As you're not playing by the rules of golf, do whatever you feel like.

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Originally Posted by Mordan

As you're not playing by the rules of golf, do whatever you feel like.

That is a somewhat dismissive answer.  There is a "Local Rule" that permits the creation of "drop zones" although from Joe's description, the drop zones the course created may not be in compliance with the specimen Local Rule.

Joe, recognize that using these drop zones might produce lower scores than one might have following the Rules of Golf (if the drop zones are not within the parameters of the USGA's Local Rule).  You might consider first hitting a provisional when a ball goes into heavy woods rather than resort immediately to the drop zone.  When you hit a ball into a water hazard, consider the other options for relief for a ball in a water hazard (e.g. replay the shot from the previous spot). Only if you plunk another ball into the hazard would you go forward and use the drop zone.  With your handicap you are going to max out at 8 (or maybe 7 where the slope is fairly low).

If you use the drop zone, perhaps for consistency's sake, make the drop within 2 club lengths behind the sign.  You might suggest to the course management that they create a chalk circle or otherwise indicate the drop area.

It sounds like you are trying to do the correct thing so good luck playing in the future.

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Originally Posted by bkuehn1952

That is a somewhat dismissive answer.  There is a "Local Rule" that permits the creation of "drop zones" although from Joe's description, the drop zones the course created may not be in compliance with the specimen Local Rule.

Joe, recognize that using these drop zones might produce lower scores than one might have following the Rules of Golf (if the drop zones are not within the parameters of the USGA's Local Rule).  You might consider first hitting a provisional when a ball goes into heavy woods rather than resort immediately to the drop zone.  When you hit a ball into a water hazard, consider the other options for relief for a ball in a water hazard (e.g. replay the shot from the previous spot). Only if you plunk another ball into the hazard would you go forward and use the drop zone.  With your handicap you are going to max out at 8 (or maybe 7 where the slope is fairly low).

If you use the drop zone, perhaps for consistency's sake, make the drop within 2 club lengths behind the sign.  You might suggest to the course management that they create a chalk circle or otherwise indicate the drop area.

It sounds like you are trying to do the correct thing so good luck playing in the future.

Local rules may not contravene the rules of golf.

When they do, as in the case here it causes all sorts of problems. Who would hit a provisional when they can take a one shot penalty and play from a drop zone that is further up the fairway than most people drive?!? Anyone playing by the rules is still back at the tee after their penalty of one shot.

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Originally Posted by Mordan

Local rules may not contravene the rules of golf.

True, however the USGA and R&A; do allow the use of Local Rules as outlined in Appendix I.  One of the Local Rules relates to "Dropping Zones".

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Originally Posted by Mordan

Who would hit a provisional when they can take a one shot penalty and play from a drop zone that is further up the fairway than most people drive?!?

Assuming the drop zone was not in accordance with the USGA/R&A; specimen Local Rule, I would be hitting a provisional unless the course required me to use the drop zone. I also would not likely choose to play there again.

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Mordan is quite correct when he states that since they are playing loose with the rules, trying to answer any question pertaining to a questionable policy is just about impossible.  A proper drop zone is enclosed by white lines.  Just sticking a sign in the fairway does not create a drop zone, it creates confusion for someone trying to play the game properly.

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Originally Posted by Fourputt

Mordan is quite correct when he states that since they are playing loose with the rules, trying to answer any question pertaining to a questionable policy is just about impossible.  A proper drop zone is enclosed by white lines.  Just sticking a sign in the fairway does not create a drop zone, it creates confusion for someone trying to play the game properly.

joekelly and the rest of us learned little from Mordan's original response.  Those with a good knowledge of the Rules of Golf, when asked a good faith question, should try to help the questioner.  When faced with a situation like a drop zone without proper markings, what should one do?  A reasonable answer might be to suggest to the course management that they mark the zones.  If the course management won't mark the zones, then form your own committee and call the drop zone an area within two club lengths of the sign, no nearer to the hole.

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Originally Posted by bkuehn1952

True, however the USGA and R&A; do allow the use of Local Rules as outlined in Appendix I.  One of the Local Rules relates to "Dropping Zones".

A dropping zone may be created as an additional option for taking relief under one of the other rules. There is no relief for a ball lost in the woods, you have to play again under stroke and distance.

While I don't like it, at least courses that mark up woods or scrub as lateral water hazards allow you to play under the rules. This course has gone well past that and I can't really see the point of debating how the rules would handle a situation that clearly contravenes the rules.

Hence my admittedly short response that joekelly should just play it however he sees fit.

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Thanks guys for the replies. The situation here is, principally, one of 'fast play'. At these courses, the only public ones (3 total) for a city of 7 million, every day the courses are totally booked out, often 6 days in advance.  But no players can say that the 18 holes 'took too long', as the finishing times are posted on the score cards and the players are harassed by the rangers no end to keep up.  Now we all may argue that such policies are absurd and contrary to the 'Rules' but let's face it, speed of play is becoming a monster problem. This kind of 'drop zone' idea may speed up play, and may be tomorrow's 'Rule'. Who knows the future?

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No doubt people spending too much time looking for lost balls is a slow play issue. Do you have a link to the course's site? How much trouble could there be that so many drops would be necessary when simply follwoing the rules would likley yield the same result. I've never seen or heard of anything like that. The closest thing would be some of the whacky courses here with lots of ESA. The only drop areas I've ever seen here are near water to discourage people from doing the Tin Cup thing.

That said my experience is the people spending too much time looking for lost balls don't benefit from the drops. It's their lack of understanding for rules and etiquette that slow things down. They spend too much time doing everything. Without fail the person chasing balls all over the course is also the one lining up putts for quadruple bogey from both sides of the hole before knocking it several feet past or short, again.

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Originally Posted by joekelly

. The situation here is, principally, one of 'fast play'. A

What's wrong with using provisionals to speed up play?

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Originally Posted by joekelly

This kind of 'drop zone' idea may speed up play, and may be tomorrow's 'Rule'. Who knows the future?

Or everyone could just drop on the green and solve all those pesky problems associated with having to actually hit the ball there in the first place!

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Originally Posted by David in FL

Or everyone could just drop on the green and solve all those pesky problems associated with having to actually hit the ball there in the first place!

Yes.  Consider this local Rule-

If the player's ball leaves a closely-mown area, the player must immediately proceed to the green and place a ball within two clublengths of the hole, incurring a penalty of one stroke.

Note:  It is a breach of this Rule if the player leaves the fairway to search for their ball or any ball.

Penalty for breach of this local Rule:  Four strokes in stroke play or adjustment to the state of the match by 4 holes in match play.

I'm sure it would speed up play and lower scores.  However, the same can be accomplished by going to the nearest mini-golf location!  :)

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Originally Posted by Rulesman

What's wrong with using provisionals to speed up play?

I played a course the other day that had similar drop areas to what the OP was describing.  The course ( http://www.arroyotrabuco.com/golf.aspx ) had a handful of holes with a sign near the tee that said "drop zone ahead."  The holes (if you look at the 'course map' and check out hole 12 you can see a good example of one.  16 also had one, but the picture is from the front tee box so you can't see it) that had the drop areas were ones that included a forced carry from the tee to the fairway.  The drop areas are there, as others have said, to speed up play, yet provisionals aren't really going to do anything because they are there for those people who have trouble carrying the hazard.  Rather than having them sit there and hold up play trying to hit 9000 balls into the hazard, or having a marshal sit there and wag his finger at them saying "you shouldn't be playing from back here," they put the drop zone in, give them a shot to clear the hazard once, fail, and move on.  Everybody is happy.

If you play this course and don't want to use the drop area because you know it's not technically in the rules, what's to stop you?  By all means, re-hit.

I'ts not too different from the local rule in place at Couer D'Alene.  I've never played there, but they have the famous floating island green 14th hole that would certainly be a challenge for a lot of golfers.  This is from their website:

Hole #14 - The world famous floating island green has become an icon in the world of golf. The most unique feature of the green is its ability to be computer controlled to a different distance from the tee each day. At approximately 15,000 square feet, the island, although intimidating, is a deceivingly large target. The back and front right of the green is protected by bunkers. Golfers take a maximum of two attempts to land safely on the island before taking a drop on the green if necessary.

Originally Posted by David in FL

Or everyone could just drop on the green and solve all those pesky problems associated with having to actually hit the ball there in the first place!

Originally Posted by rogolf

Yes.  Consider this local Rule-

If the player's ball leaves a closely-mown area, the player must immediately proceed to the green and place a ball within two clublengths of the hole, incurring a penalty of one stroke.

Note:  It is a breach of this Rule if the player leaves the fairway to search for their ball or any ball.

Penalty for breach of this local Rule:  Four strokes in stroke play or adjustment to the state of the match by 4 holes in match play.

I'm sure it would speed up play and lower scores.  However, the same can be accomplished by going to the nearest mini-golf location!  :)

Good points, both of you!    If a golf course is allowed to have a suspect drop area, the next thing we know there are going to be people marrying horses who aren't allowed to own a gun of any kind while putting out for par on a hole that they hit their tee shot in the hazard.  Talk about a travesty!

(Yes, I'm being sarcastic, and yes I think that the "slippery slope" argument is just about the silliest argument in the world.)

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Originally Posted by Golfingdad

I played a course the other day that had similar drop areas to what the OP was describing.  The course (http://www.arroyotrabuco.com/golf.aspx) had a handful of holes with a sign near the tee that said "drop zone ahead."  The holes (if you look at the 'course map' and check out hole 12 you can see a good example of one.  16 also had one, but the picture is from the front tee box so you can't see it) that had the drop areas were ones that included a forced carry from the tee to the fairway.  The drop areas are there, as others have said, to speed up play, yet provisionals aren't really going to do anything because they are there for those people who have trouble carrying the hazard.  Rather than having them sit there and hold up play trying to hit 9000 balls into the hazard, or having a marshal sit there and wag his finger at them saying "you shouldn't be playing from back here," they put the drop zone in, give them a shot to clear the hazard once, fail, and move on.  Everybody is happy.

If you play this course and don't want to use the drop area because you know it's not technically in the rules, what's to stop you?  By all means, re-hit.

I'ts not too different from the local rule in place at Couer D'Alene.  I've never played there, but they have the famous floating island green 14th hole that would certainly be a challenge for a lot of golfers.  This is from their website:

Hole #14 - The world famous floating island green has become an icon in the world of golf. The most unique feature of the green is its ability to be computer controlled to a different distance from the tee each day. At approximately 15,000 square feet, the island, although intimidating, is a deceivingly large target. The back and front right of the green is protected by bunkers. Golfers take a maximum of two attempts to land safely on the island before taking a drop on the green if necessary.

I'd vote the only way I could.  Never play there again after the first time.

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Originally Posted by joekelly

Thanks guys for the replies. The situation here is, principally, one of 'fast play'. At these courses, the only public ones (3 total) for a city of 7 million, every day the courses are totally booked out, often 6 days in advance.  But no players can say that the 18 holes 'took too long', as the finishing times are posted on the score cards and the players are harassed by the rangers no end to keep up.  Now we all may argue that such policies are absurd and contrary to the 'Rules' but let's face it, speed of play is becoming a monster problem. This kind of 'drop zone' idea may speed up play, and may be tomorrow's 'Rule'. Who knows the future?

too bad you don't own land there.  You could build another course and make a few dollars.

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