Taking a penalty drop when a path runs alongside a hazard

Well, the previous post aroused some “interesting” responses, ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous.  However, the most mentioned comment related to the “extra time” it would take per round if players followed the correct procedure when taking a drop, namely when dropping on a path, and then taking relief from the path.

I timed a couple of players who recently followed the correct procedure, and it took no more than 30 seconds in each instance.  Given that there are (hopefully) not many instances where you have to do this per round, it doesn’t really add up to much extra time.

I need to reiterate that if a player decides to take a penalty drop for a ball that has crossed the hazard, and the nearest point of relief within 2 club-lengths of where the ball last crossed the hazard is on a path, the player MUST drop the ball on the path.  If the player simply moves away from the path and drops on the fairway, they are in breach of the rules and incur a penalty of 2 strokes if they play the ball from that spot.  If they become aware of dropping in the wrong spot before they play the ball, they are allowed to pick the ball up without penalty and drop it in the correct spot.

I would respectfully suggest that players should make others aware of the need to follow the correct procedure, in order that a competition is not compromised.  This is particularly pertinent at the moment as the club championships are about to get under way.


3 thoughts on “Taking a penalty drop when a path runs alongside a hazard

  1. Terry,

    Dic was a perfect example the very week after your post. He crossed the hazard on 9 at the very spot we photographed and did the right thing and dropped the ball on the path. It bounced backwards away from the pin and back across the path but not into the hazard. He had a stance and as the ball was not on the path and the hazard peg did not interfere with his swing he quite rightly had to play the ball. The execution of the shot was not the same as if he had dropped on the fairway and the result was the ball crossed the fairway into the hazard on the other side.

    It was a great example to Dic and to the others in our group just how the rule should be applied. Well done.


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