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# Unplayable lie: must drop 2 clubs away be in straight line?

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should have taken the one stroke and dropped 2 club lengths, not nearer, but f*cked up badly and into the shrub twice after.

Of the 3 possible drop positions available, the 2 club lengths, seems now to have been the best choice and my Q is simply: must those 2 club lengths be in a straight line away from the ball?

Presumably, there is no 'nearest point' in this case, only the point of my choosing so i could have laid the driver, put a mark, then laid the next driver at a 90* angle, or any other angle, to the first to optimize my next shot.

On TV, we usually see penalty drops from hazards or free drops from immov obs so i'm kind of in the dark and would appreciate any discussion.

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There is nothing to be gained by not making your 2 club lengths in a "straight line", as you are not obliged to drop at the end of the 2 club lengths, but should do so within the last club length.  So, in your example of wanting to make a 90 degree angle on your second length, you might just take your two club lengths into your intended direction, in a straight line and drop where your see fit, which is going to be further away from the ball than the first length and closer to the ball than the full second length in a straight line, if that makes any sense (simple geometry after all).

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should have taken the one stroke and dropped 2 club lengths, not nearer, but f*cked up badly and into the shrub twice after.

Of the 3 possible drop positions available, the 2 club lengths, seems now to have been the best choice and my Q is simply: must those 2 club lengths be in a straight line away from the ball?

Presumably, there is no 'nearest point' in this case, only the point of my choosing so i could have laid the driver, put a mark, then laid the next driver at a 90* angle, or any other angle, to the first to optimize my next shot.

On TV, we usually see penalty drops from hazards or free drops from immov obs so i'm kind of in the dark and would appreciate any discussion.

Under Rule 28c, you have a 180 degree arc with a radius of 2 clublengths, the center of which is the point where the ball currently lies.  The end points of the arc create a line that is perpendicular to the line from the ball to the hole.   You must drop so that the ball first hits the ground on a spot anywhere within that semicircle, and it may roll up to 2 clublengths from that spot without requiring a redrop unless it rolls closer to the hole than where the ball lay unplayable.  You could in theory, if the conditions are right, end up with almost 4 clublengths of relief and still be within the requirements of the rule.

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Got it 4Putt.  Well said.

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Under Rule 28c, you have a 180 degree arc with a radius of 2 clublengths, the center of which is the point where the ball currently lies.  The end points of the arc create a line that is perpendicular to the line from the ball to the hole.   You must drop so that the ball first hits the ground on a spot anywhere within that semicircle, and it may roll up to 2 clublengths from that spot without requiring a redrop unless it rolls closer to the hole than where the ball lay unplayable.  You could in theory, if the conditions are right, end up with almost 4 clublengths of relief and still be within the requirements of the rule.

Fourputt is correct, but I'll add that In theory, you could also end up in virtually the same spot as you were originally (but with a penalty stroke added to your score). i.e. If you dropped just inside 2 club lengths and it rolled back towards your original spot. One thing I have learned from watching the pros drop- try to pick a spot where it will consistently roll closer to the hole. This allows you to place it after two drops. Of course, if that leaves you with an awkward downhill lie, maybe there is a better spot to try and drop it. Under the current rules, there really is both skill and luck involved in dropping, so it can benefit your score to take your time and consider your options.

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Like MEfree said about watching the pros, they definitely look like they take advantage of the rules of bit and/or practice drops. IMO, knowing the rules and using them to your advantage when possible definitely cuts strokes off your game.
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Like MEfree said about watching the pros, they definitely look like they take advantage of the rules of bit and/or practice drops. IMO, knowing the rules and using them to your advantage when possible definitely cuts strokes off your game.

I think you can practice dropping to be able to land on a particular spot but don't believe you are able to intentionally put spin on a ball while dropping (i.e. to make it roll forward to be able to place after two drops). Of course, it seems that some players have a drop motion that inadvertently puts some forward spin on it.

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[quote name="testerdahl" url="/t/82438/unplayable-lie-must-drop-2-clubs-away-be-in-straight-line#post_1151155"]Like MEfree said about watching the pros, they definitely look like they take advantage of the rules of bit and/or practice drops. IMO, knowing the rules and using them to your advantage when possible definitely cuts strokes off your game.

I think you can practice dropping to be able to land on a particular spot but don't believe you are able to intentionally put spin on a ball while dropping (i.e. to make it roll forward to be able to place after two drops). Of course, it seems that some players have a drop motion that inadvertently puts some forward spin on it.[/quote] Completely agree. It seems that the rule language around dropping is ambiguous and Pros have learned better ways to "drop."

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Quote:
Originally Posted by testerdahl
Quote:
Originally Posted by MEfree
Quote:
Originally Posted by testerdahl

Like MEfree said about watching the pros, they definitely look like they take advantage of the rules of bit and/or practice drops. IMO, knowing the rules and using them to your advantage when possible definitely cuts strokes off your game.

I think you can practice dropping to be able to land on a particular spot but don't believe you are able to intentionally put spin on a ball while dropping (i.e. to make it roll forward to be able to place after two drops). Of course, it seems that some players have a drop motion that inadvertently puts some forward spin on it.

Completely agree. It seems that the rule language around dropping is ambiguous and Pros have learned better ways to "drop."

It is an important point that MEFree brought up - when taking relief under this rule, you are not assured of relief from the condition.  It is entirely possible for the ball to roll back into the same lie (or even a worse lie), incurring another penalty and another drop

I don't see anything ambiguous about it.  You must drop at arm's length from shoulder height and you may not put any "action" on the the ball.  You can try to hit a certain spot when you drop it if you like, but the ball doesn't always cooperate, no matter how carefully you plan a drop.

Quote:

### 20-2 . Dropping and Re-Dropping

#### a . By Whom and How

A ball to be dropped under the Rules must be dropped by the player himself. He must stand erect, hold the ball at shoulder height and arm's length and drop it. If a ball is dropped by any other person or in any other manner and the error is not corrected as provided in Rule 20-6 , the player incurs a penalty of one stroke .

Quote:

## 20-2a/2

#### Spinning Ball When Dropping

Q. A player puts spin on a ball purposely when dropping it. What is the ruling?

A. The player incurs a penalty of one stroke under Rule 20-2a for dropping the ball in an improper manner, unless he corrects his mistake as permitted by Rule 20-6 .

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Quote:
Originally Posted by testerdahl
Quote:
Originally Posted by MEfree
Quote:
Originally Posted by testerdahl

Like MEfree said about watching the pros, they definitely look like they take advantage of the rules of bit and/or practice drops. IMO, knowing the rules and using them to your advantage when possible definitely cuts strokes off your game.

I think you can practice dropping to be able to land on a particular spot but don't believe you are able to intentionally put spin on a ball while dropping (i.e. to make it roll forward to be able to place after two drops). Of course, it seems that some players have a drop motion that inadvertently puts some forward spin on it.

Completely agree. It seems that the rule language around dropping is ambiguous and Pros have learned better ways to "drop."

I don't see anything ambiguous about it.  You must drop at arm's length from shoulder height and you may not put any "action" on the the ball.  You can try to this a certain spot if you like, but the ball doesn't always cooperate, no matter how carefully I plan a drop.

Playing devil's advocate here, but players could hold the ball funny with their fingers to deliberately get it to go left or right (more pressure with certain fingers). They could also drop some a slightly different height. For example, how often do rules officials measure exactly what is "shoulder's height." I could raise it a little higher or lower. Small potatoes for sure, but, like most rules, there is some gray area.

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It is an important point that MEFree brought up - when taking relief under this rule, you are not assured of relief from the condition.  It is entirely possible for the ball to roll back into the same lie (or even a worse lie), incurring another penalty and another drop

That is why, at least in the case of penalty drops, I think the player should be allowed to place the ball. This would be more consistent with the rules of golf from the 1700s and help to speed up play- 5. "If your ball comes among watter, or any wattery filth, you are at liberty to take out your ball and bringing it behind the hazard and teeing it, you may play it with any club and allow your adversary a stroke for so getting out your ball."

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Playing devil's advocate here, but players could hold the ball funny with their fingers to deliberately get it to go left or right (more pressure with certain fingers). They could also drop some a slightly different height. For example, how often do rules officials measure exactly what is "shoulder's height." I could raise it a little higher or lower.

Small potatoes for sure, but, like most rules, there is some gray area.

I don't remember who it was, but very recently a player was penalized for dropping with the arm either too low or too high and not correcting it.  It was only a slight bit off from parallel to the ground, but it was caught and the penalty was assessed.  You can't let the ball roll off your fingers, even a small amount, or drop it with any lateral motion.  If a player does anything but hold the ball straight out and simply release it, he is subject to penalty.

I've watched a lot of pros drop, on TV and in person, and the only real edge I've seen is picking a spot to drop where the ball might kick into a condition requiring a re-drop, and possible placement if the re-drop does the same thing.  However, when placing the ball he is required to place it where it first touched the ground on the re-drop, and that may or may not be the most favorable spot.  It all depends on how good he is at observing arm's length and hitting a certain spot.

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There's no question that I've seen pros drop where they're sure they're going to end up having to place the ball due to re-drops.  However, that's usually just a fortunate (or unfortunate) feature of the topography.  When the lie is flat, they concentrate on dropping in the largest good spot possible, since they know they're unlikely to get a chance to place.

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I don't remember who it was, but very recently a player was penalized for dropping with the arm either too low or too high and not correcting it.  It was only a slight bit off from parallel to the ground, but it was caught and the penalty was assessed.

I remember that. It didn't affect outcome because he wasn't going to make the cut anyway, IIRC. I don't recall who it was, though. Nothing turns up when I google it. Sun Young Yoo on the LPGA had a similar penalty in 2012. YouTube video is available on that one.

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I don't remember who it was, but very recently a player was penalized for dropping with the arm either too low or too high and not correcting it.  It was only a slight bit off from parallel to the ground, but it was caught and the penalty was assessed.

I remember that. It didn't affect outcome because he wasn't going to make the cut anyway, IIRC. I don't recall who it was, though. Nothing turns up when I google it.

Found it.

Aaron Baddeley at TPC Sawgrass in May, Height was okay, but his arm was bent.

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Dropping from shoulder height is different for different people too. Someone who is 6'4" tall drops from a much different height than someone who is 5'8" or shorter. Shouldn't they standardize the drop height to for example 4'. There are people who can't drop a ball from shoulder height, too, and accommodations have to be made.

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Dropping from shoulder height is different for different people too. Someone who is 6'4" tall drops from a much different height than someone who is 5'8" or shorter. Shouldn't they standardize the drop height to for example 4'. There are people who can't drop a ball from shoulder height, too, and accommodations have to be made.

Maybe you'd rather go back to the old way and roll it off your shoulder blade?  That would be equally unequal for people of differing elevations.

Tell me how you know that your hand is 4 feet above the ground.  I've seen players claim to make 4 foot putts, which were lucky if they were 3 feet.  I've seen a player drop 10 feet from the margin of a hazard and insist that he was within 2 clublengths.   Most people are not very good at accurately estimating distances, so the best solution is to just make it an easy to follow procedure.  The difference in impact velocity between a 4 foot drop and a 5 foot drop is insignificant.

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should have taken the one stroke and dropped 2 club lengths, not nearer, but f*cked up badly and into the shrub twice after.

Of the 3 possible drop positions available, the 2 club lengths, seems now to have been the best choice and my Q is simply: must those 2 club lengths be in a straight line away from the ball?

Presumably, there is no 'nearest point' in this case, only the point of my choosing so i could have laid the driver, put a mark, then laid the next driver at a 90* angle, or any other angle, to the first to optimize my next shot.

On TV, we usually see penalty drops from hazards or free drops from immov obs so i'm kind of in the dark and would appreciate any discussion.

Two club lengths is the distance between two points.  The line between two points is always a straight line.  All your 90 degree idea does is to shorten that line .

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