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Rules of Golf - Rule 20: Lifting, Dropping and Placing ...

... and Playing from the Wrong Place


The Official Rules of Golf appear on the About.com Golf site courtesy of the USGA, are used with permission, and may not be reprinted without the permission of the USGA.

20-1. Lifting and Marking
A ball to be lifted under the Rules may be lifted by the player, his partner or another person authorized by the player. In any such case, the player is responsible for any breach of the Rules.

The position of the ball must be marked before it is lifted under a Rule that requires it to be replaced. If it is not marked, the player incurs a penalty of one stroke and the ball must be replaced. If it is not replaced, the player incurs the general penalty for breach of this Rule but there is no additional penalty under Rule 20-1.

If a ball or ball-marker is accidentally moved in the process of lifting the ball under a Rule or marking its position, the ball or ball-marker must be replaced. There is no penalty, provided the movement of the ball or ball-marker is directly attributable to the specific act of marking the position of or lifting the ball. Otherwise, the player incurs a penalty of one stroke under this Rule or Rule 18-2a.

Exception: If a player incurs a penalty for failing to act in accordance with Rule 5-3 or 12-2, there is no additional penalty under Rule 20-1.

Note: The position of a ball to be lifted should be marked by placing a ball-marker, a small coin or other similar object immediately behind the ball. If the ball-marker interferes with the play, stance or stroke of another player, it should be placed one or more clubhead-lengths to one side.

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’slength 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.

If the ball, when dropped, touches any person or the equipment of any player before or after it strikes a part of the course and before it comes to rest, the ball must be re-dropped, without penalty. There is no limit to the number of times a ball must be re-dropped in these circumstances.

(Taking action to influence position or movement of ball – see Rule 1-2)

• b. Where to Drop
When a ball is to be dropped as near as possible to a specific spot, it must be dropped not nearer the hole than the specific spot which, if it is not precisely known to the player, must be estimated.

A ball when dropped must first strike a part of the course where the applicable Rule requires it to be dropped. If it is not so dropped, Rules 20-6 and 20-7 apply.

• c. When to Re-Drop
A dropped ball must be re-dropped, without penalty, if it:

   (i) rolls into and comes to rest in a hazard;
   (ii) rolls out of and comes to rest outside a hazard;
   (iii) rolls onto and comes to rest on a putting green;
   (iv) rolls and comes to rest out of bounds;
   (v) rolls to and comes to rest in a position where there is interference by the condition from which relief was taken under Rule 24-2b (immovable obstruction), Rule 25-1 (abnormal ground conditions), Rule 25-3 (wrong putting green) or a Local Rule (Rule 33-8a), or rolls back into the pitch-mark from which it was lifted under Rule 25-2 (embedded ball);
   (vi) rolls and comes to rest more than two club-lengths from where it first struck a part of the course; or
   (vii) rolls and comes to rest nearer the hole than:
     (a) its original position or estimated position (see Rule 20-2b) unless otherwise permitted by the Rules; or
     (b) the nearest point of relief or maximum available relief (Rule 24-2, 25-1 or 25-3); or
     (c) the point where the original ball last crossed the margin of the water hazard or lateral water hazard (Rule 26-1).

If the ball when re-dropped rolls into any position listed above, it must be placed as near as possible to the spot where it first struck a part of the course when re-dropped.

Note 1: If a ball when dropped or re-dropped comes to rest and subsequently moves, the ball must be played as it lies, unless the provisions of any other Rule apply.

Note 2: If a ball to be re-dropped or placed under this Rule is not immediately recoverable, another ball may be substituted.

(Use of dropping zone – see Appendix 1; Part B; Section 8)

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