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Modernized Rules Discussion: Taking Relief

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I'm not convinced the fixed distance rule is helpful.  Sure, there's some inconsistency introduced by the players choice of clubs, but at least there's a measuring stick.  Even if standard distances were preferred, why not use something more familiar than 80 inches, like 6 feet?  Who wants to eyeball 6 feet 8 inches?  Even worse if you're european and trying to enforce a rule 2.03 meters. 

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The one change I'd oppose in this section is the new dropping procedure.  In my opinion, there should be a minimum height.  To drop from an inch high is virtually the same as placing the ball.  Since 20 inches is a new standard measurement, perhaps the drop should be from at least 20 inches high.

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Would there ever be a time when you would not want to drop the ball as close to the ground as possible?  Should theoretically get the least amount of variation from where the ball hits the turf.

Not sure I like the fixed distance to measure relief, seems kind of like a pain.  Probably should carry a tape measure?

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I'd prefer to see a minimum distance for the drop because, as @DaveP043 said, you're basically placing the ball.  If the goal is to maintain some randomness but also decrease the randomness, why not go with knee or waist?  

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27 minutes ago, dsc123 said:

I'm not convinced the fixed distance rule is helpful.  Sure, there's some inconsistency introduced by the players choice of clubs, but at least there's a measuring stick.  Even if standard distances were preferred, why not use something more familiar than 80 inches, like 6 feet?  Who wants to eyeball 6 feet 8 inches?  Even worse if you're european and trying to enforce a rule 2.03 meters. 

More likely that the official distances are 2 meters and 1/2 meter, and the 80 and 20 inches are just reasonable approximations. In one of the demos on the Golf Channel this morning, a guy had a driver with tape marks at 20 and 40 inches from the grip end. Would make these new rules pretty simple to carry out.

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9 minutes ago, jsgolfer said:

Not sure I like the fixed distance to measure relief, seems kind of like a pain.  Probably should carry a tape measure?

Take a sharpie and mark the distance on your putter shaft.  I bet new clubs will come with this marking, if the rule stays the way it's written now.   Measuring the 80-inch distance might get a little tough, though

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24 minutes ago, dsc123 said:

I'm not convinced the fixed distance rule is helpful.  Sure, there's some inconsistency introduced by the players choice of clubs, but at least there's a measuring stick.  Even if standard distances were preferred, why not use something more familiar than 80 inches, like 6 feet?  Who wants to eyeball 6 feet 8 inches?  Even worse if you're european and trying to enforce a rule 2.03 meters. 

Basically they are saying that the relief area is 2 yards or 2 meters, either of which is fairly easy to estimate depending on what units you normally use, then they give a little bit of a "fudge factor".  Seems eminently more equitable to me.  It's rarely necessary to use the exact 80 inches.  For the 20 inches that they give for immovable obstructions, that can be marked with a piec of tape on a club shaft as shown in the video.  

2 minutes ago, jsgolfer said:

Would there ever be a time when you would not want to drop the ball as close to the ground as possible?  Should theoretically get the least amount of variation from where the ball hits the turf.

Not sure I like the fixed distance to measure relief, seems kind of like a pain.  Probably should carry a tape measure?

I can see a case where dropping from a higher point could cause the ball to roll outside of the dropping area, theoretically still allowing the player to place, rather than drop the ball.  Without a specified dropping height the player could change the result by varying the distance of his drop.  

I'm not too fond of that idea, because the player might have too many opportunities to improve his situation beyond simply gaining relief from the obstruction, and could do so without making a stroke.  The game is supposed to be about skill at playing the ball, not skill at dropping it.

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22 minutes ago, DaveP043 said:

The one change I'd oppose in this section is the new dropping procedure.  In my opinion, there should be a minimum height.  To drop from an inch high is virtually the same as placing the ball.  Since 20 inches is a new standard measurement, perhaps the drop should be from at least 20 inches high.

Another place a standard 20 inch distance could be useful is as a reasonable limit for gimmees in recreational play and scrambles.

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What I found interesting on the dropping of a ball, is that it can be tossed.  Sometimes when just dropping it sinks in a bit, but now you could just barely roll it a bit to make sure it sits on top of the grass.  I don't know how I feel on this one.  

20 minutes ago, Fourputt said:

Basically they are saying that the relief area is 2 yards or 2 meters, either of which is fairly easy to estimate depending on what units you normally use, then they give a little bit of a "fudge factor".  Seems eminently more equitable to me.  It's rarely necessary to use the exact 80 inches.  For the 20 inches that they give for immovable obstructions, that can be marked with a piec of tape on a club shaft as shown in the video.  

The bolded is kind of where I'm at too.  I don't think people are going to try and get exactly 80in, they're just going for a good spot within the zone.

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My only problem with an "always place" type rule change is that people would spend too much time trying to balance their ball on a tuft of grass. I think the 1" drop is good. It's basically an "always place" rule (of which I am in favor) but doesn't devolve into a rock balancing exercise.

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47 minutes ago, dsc123 said:

I'm not convinced the fixed distance rule is helpful.  Sure, there's some inconsistency introduced by the players choice of clubs, but at least there's a measuring stick.  Even if standard distances were preferred, why not use something more familiar than 80 inches, like 6 feet?  Who wants to eyeball 6 feet 8 inches?  Even worse if you're european and trying to enforce a rule 2.03 meters. 

Initially I didn't like this. Everyone has clubs, not everyone is going to mark up clubs with different distances… but I think, in the end, people will just mark up their alignment sticks.

That's what I would do. That way I don't have lines on my clubs and stuff… I'll just mark my alignment sticks.

They're 48", so I'll just mark the middle, and 20" out from the middle. There's my drop area for the 20" zone, and half of my measurement for the 80" zone.

Initially didn't like this, but like it okay right now.

32 minutes ago, DaveP043 said:

The one change I'd oppose in this section is the new dropping procedure.  In my opinion, there should be a minimum height.  To drop from an inch high is virtually the same as placing the ball.  Since 20 inches is a new standard measurement, perhaps the drop should be from at least 20 inches high.

The minimum is basically an inch. The ball can't be touching anything on the ground and has to be dropped with clear "air."

But yeah, basically, why not just eliminate dropping and have players place if you're just going to let them drop from an inch?

So maybe this one will be removed and they'll just say "place everywhere"?

The document on the USGA site says it still preserves the randomness, but does it really? If I drop from an inch is it really all that random?

25 minutes ago, jsgolfer said:

Would there ever be a time when you would not want to drop the ball as close to the ground as possible?  Should theoretically get the least amount of variation from where the ball hits the turf.

I don't think so. So why not eliminate dropping altogether? Just place.

16 minutes ago, Divot Master said:

More likely that the official distances are 2 meters and 1/2 meter, and the 80 and 20 inches are just reasonable approximations. In one of the demos on the Golf Channel this morning, a guy had a driver with tape marks at 20 and 40 inches from the grip end. Would make these new rules pretty simple to carry out.

I'll just mark my alignment sticks as said above.

Measuring the Size of the Relief Area Where a Ball Must Be Dropped and Played

I like that this eliminates the advantages that can be gained by good droppers who could get a ball to roll even further away from where the ball was.

Keeping it closer to the original point is good. And dropping from a few inches should minimize rolling anyway.

Proposed New Procedure for Dropping a Ball

Fine, though again… I'm reminded of the "no half measures" thing in Breaking Bad. Why not just eliminate dropping altogether and do placing?

11 minutes ago, phillyk said:

What I found interesting on the dropping of a ball, is that it can be tossed.  Sometimes when just dropping it sinks in a bit, but now you could just barely roll it a bit to make sure it sits on top of the grass.  I don't know how I feel on this one.  

True.

9 minutes ago, Dick Kusleika said:

My only problem with an "always place" type rule change is that people would spend too much time trying to balance their ball on a tuft of grass. I think the 1" drop is good. It's basically an "always place" rule (of which I am in favor) but doesn't devolve into a rock balancing exercise.

That might be true too. But I'm still leaning toward the "half measure" thing I wrote above.

Where a Dropped Ball Must Come to Rest

Another reason to just have people place from the get-go, IMO. I don't think there's enough randomness to justify dropping from an inch… just have people place from the start. Why not?

Devil's advocate of sorts: Yeah, in the rough, even dropping from an inch can see the ball fall down into the rough further.

Fixed Distance (Not Club-Lengths) Used for Measuring

Fine, but… nothing more to say really. I guess I said it up above.

Time For Search Before Ball is Lost

Good.

Substitution of Ball Always Allowed When Taking Relief

Okay.

Relief For an Embedded Ball

The USGA wins! :-) Take that, R&A! :-D

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I'm good with "always place". Fair all the way around. Sure guys are going to try to "tee it up" on some fluffy grass, oh well, everyone gets to do it so it's all good. 

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1 hour ago, dsc123 said:

I'm not convinced the fixed distance rule is helpful.  Sure, there's some inconsistency introduced by the players choice of clubs, but at least there's a measuring stick.  Even if standard distances were preferred, why not use something more familiar than 80 inches, like 6 feet?  Who wants to eyeball 6 feet 8 inches?  Even worse if you're european and trying to enforce a rule 2.03 meters. 

I don't think this would be very difficult at all - just either do as the rule suggests and mark 20" and 40" on one of your clubs (or alignment sticks as @iacas cleverly suggests) OR do what I just did and check your club lengths.  My 4 iron is 39.50" long so I'll just be able to grab that one and use 2 club lengths or half of the club length.  Easy peasy lemon squeezy.

1 hour ago, DaveP043 said:

The one change I'd oppose in this section is the new dropping procedure.  In my opinion, there should be a minimum height.  To drop from an inch high is virtually the same as placing the ball.  Since 20 inches is a new standard measurement, perhaps the drop should be from at least 20 inches high.

I'm OK with the low dropping height.  I don't think it's at all like placing it because A) it's still random and B) when placing, even in rough (especially in rough), you can try and perch the ball ever so perfectly.  You can't do that from even 1" (as is demonstrated in the video).

I see your point, though.  But I also agree with @Fourputt that there could sometimes be an advantage in dropping from up high, so maybe if they did have a minimum, they should also have a maximum?  Maybe the same 20" and 40"?

I'm OK with the new rule though.

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Measuring the Size of the Relief Area Where a Ball Must Be Dropped and Played

Okay with this.

Proposed New Procedure for Dropping a Ball

I'm happy with anything that keeps the drop in the game.  I'm 100% opposed to universal placing.

Where a Dropped Ball Must Come to Rest

Okay with this one too.

Fixed Distance (Not Club-Lengths) Used for Measuring

This is one of their better proposals.  Never cared much for the inequality of "clublengths".

Time For Search Before Ball is Lost

Excellent!!!!!!!!!!

Substitution of Ball Always Allowed When Taking Relief

No problem with this.

Relief For an Embedded Ball

I'm mostly happy with this.  Still not too thrilled with the exception of sand.  I really don't see the reason for it, despite the R&A contention that it changes the character of some of their courses.

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I may be changing my mind on the half measure of dropping thing. Dropping in the rough, even from an inch, is different than placing in the rough.

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1 hour ago, iacas said:

I may be changing my mind on the half measure of dropping thing. Dropping in the rough, even from an inch, is different than placing in the rough.

Better! The rough is there to not have an easy lie. Placing could give a big advantage (compared to someone who did not get relief).

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Biggest impact from being allowed to drop from 0.5" will probably be in the sand. No more plugged lie drops.

Edited by VOX

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