Proposed Change: Measuring the Size of the Relief Area Where a Ball Must be Dropped and Played March 1, 2017

Modernizing Golf's Rules: Major Proposed Changes

Proposed Rule: Players would continue to drop a ball when taking relief, but the dropping procedure would be changed in several ways as detailed in Rule 14.3.

The focus of the dropping procedure would be on a specific “relief area” set by the Rule under which relief is being taken and would be either 20 inches or 80 inches from a reference point or reference line (and may have certain other limitations).

Reasons for Change:

The new procedure avoids giving players more relief than necessary:

  • A dropped ball is currently allowed to roll up to 2 club-lengths from where it hits the ground – so that, for example, it can end up being played up to 3 club-lengths from the nearest point of relief from a cart path or ground under repair, or up to 4 club- lengths from where the original ball went into a lateral water hazard or where it was unplayable.
  • Requiring the dropped ball to come to rest in and be played from the same relief area where it was dropped would make it much more likely that the ball will be played from close to where it originally came to rest.

The new procedure would make it simpler for players to know where and how to drop a ball:

  • For example, many times today a player is required to drop a ball as near as possible to a certain spot (such as where the previous stroke was made or where a ball was embedded) and questions can arise about whether it was dropped near enough to that spot.
  • The new procedure when dropping with reference to a spot would be to drop a ball anywhere in a relief area measured 20 inches from (but not nearer the hole than) that spot.

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