Thursday, 29 December 2011

A New Year Rules Riddle

Over three years ago, just a week after I commenced writing my weekly blog, I posed this Rules teaser;
On a par 3 a player scores a hole-in-one with a ball other than the original ball that he played on that hole. How can this happen within the Rules of Golf?
Here is a link to that blog with eight different ways that it could occur.

Well, now my devious mind has come up with something similar for you Rules enthusiasts to think about over the New Year’s holiday.

After celebrating much too enthusiastically on New Year’s Eve, George arrives at the first tee for his New Year’s Day match against his arch rival, Bill. Things don’t go well for him and unbelievably (!) he is 7 holes down without having struck a ball, when he concedes the match. George has not conceded any stroke or hole and has not breached a Local Rule or Condition of Competition. Explain how this could possibly have occurred under the Rules of Golf.
I am not certainly suggesting that this scenario will ever happen but the poser is intended to encourage readers to think laterally about some breaches of the Rules that we don’t often experience. Click here for my solution to this Rules Riddle.

Happy New Year to all of you,

The above content is strictly copyright to Barry Rhodes © 2012 and may not be copied without permission. 

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Golfers Will Understand (2)

At this same time last year I blogged on some ‘truisms’ about casual golf. Here are 20 more;

Brand new golf balls are water-magnetic and, while this cannot be measured scientifically, the more expensive the ball, the greater this water-magnetism.

If you want to hit a 7-iron as far as a scratch golfer, simply try to lay up with one just short of a water hazard.

When your next shot has to carry over a water hazard, you can either hit one more club or two more balls.

If your driver is hot, your putter is ice cold; if you can hit your irons, you will top your woods; if you keep your right elbow tucked in, your head will come up.

The inevitable result of any golf lesson is the instant elimination of the one critical unconscious motion that allowed you to compensate for all of your many other errors.

It's not a 'gimme' if you're still away.

There are two kinds of bounces; unfair bounces and bounces just the way you meant to play it.

Don't buy a putter until you've had a chance to throw it.

When you look up, causing an awful shot, you will always look down again at exactly the moment when you ought to start watching the ball if you ever want to see it again.

Never try to keep more than 10 separate thoughts in your mind during your swing.

You can put a draw on the ball, you can put a fade on the ball, but no casual golfer can put a straight on the ball.

A ball you can see in the rough from 50 yards away is not yours.

A good golf partner is one who's always slightly worse than you are. If you get a lot of invites to play, now you know why.

If there's a storm rolling in, you'll be having the game of your life.

If you're afraid a full shot might reach the green while the foursome ahead of you is still putting out, you have two options: you can immediately shank a lay-up or you can wait until the green is clear and top a ball halfway there.

Golf balls from the same sleeve tend to follow one another, particularly out of bounds or into water.

It’s far easier to get up at 6.00am to play golf than at 10.00am to mow the grass.

The frequency with which balls are lost increases as the available supply decreases.

The secret of good golf is: use your real swing to take the big divot, use your practice swing to make the shot, and always hit your ‘do-over’ first.

Your best round of golf will be immediately followed by your worst round. The probability of the latter increases with the number of people you tell about the former.

Wishing all my readers a Very Merry Christmas,
I appreciate your loyalty.

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Wednesday, 14 December 2011

A Rules Related True Story

The relevance of this plaque will become obvious when you read on.

I received this email today from Peter Blaisdell, a respected, long-term, US tournament Rules Official. It led me to a story that is particularly appropriate for this time of year and I am sure that it will provide you with food for thought
“I'd like to share something with you, my friends.
I received a phone call last night from someone I don't really know.
I have posted the contents of the conversation on the Golf Club Atlas website under the heading-----I got a phone call--
If interested, take a look, it speaks volumes about golf and the human condition.
Really shook me up.
Here is Pete's entry on Golf Club Atlas forum (dated today, 14th December, 2011); 
I got a phone call last night from a woman who identified herself and asked if I was the Mr. Blaisdell who is a rules official. I said yes and she said that her husband wanted to speak to me but I should be aware that he was heavily medicated. I thought, --What the hell is this?--A man came on the phone and said—Pete, you probably don't remember me but I used to play in a number of USGA qualifiers back in the 90's. The name did ring a bell but I really could not place him. He said that there was a ruling at a Public links qualifier at Gardner municipal where there was a difference of opinion on a situation where two players had a heated discussion concerning a ball moved after address on the putting green. The man on the phone was the player involved and his fellow competitor was adamant that the ball had moved. I was not the first official but was brought in as a second opinion because the first official was not sure how to rule on this. It came down to a simple he said-he said and I ruled for the player accused.

The man on the phone said --I have pancreatic cancer, I've been in the hospital for 7 weeks, nothing can be done, I came home to die. I want you to know that the ball did move and I cheated. I have carried this with me for years and I wanted to get it off my chest. It is the reason I stopped playing golf because I was so ashamed of myself. It is the only time in my life I cheated and I want to tell you I'm sorry that I lied to you and the other player.

I told the gentleman that I accept the apology and that it took guts to call. I said I would pray for him.--This really shook me up. I wanted to share this.

If you have read this with interest you will probably want to read the many varied comments that have since been posted on the web site. This is the link

Good golfing,

Edit: I am sorry to have to report that this honourable gentleman passed away in January 2012. RIP.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Winter Rules / Preferred Lies

Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

There is much confusion over the subject of ‘Winter Rules’, or ‘Preferred Lies’, or as some critical golfers call it, ‘Lift, Clean and Cheat’. I think that the main reason for this is sloppiness by club or course Committees in properly wording the Local Rules that are required, and then failing to display the appropriate notice where it will be seen and taken note of by members. There must be very few courses that do not suffer from adverse conditions at certain times of the year, thereby justifying the introduction of temporary Local Rules, either to protect the course or to promote fair and pleasant play.

Committees should anticipate these occasions and have properly worded Local Rules prepared that spell out exactly what is, and what is not permitted. It is definitely not good enough to post a notice that says ‘Winter Rules’, 'Preferred Lies' or ‘Lift, Clean and Place Everywhere’. Wherever possible, it is recommended to reproduce one or more of the specimen Local Rules that are provided in Appendix l, Part B, section 4 of the Rules book. Amongst the subjects that should be considered are;
•    Whether lift, clean and drop is to be restricted to fairway areas, or is to include the rough (through the green).
•    Whether the ball must be marked before it is lifted (strongly recommended).
•    How far the player is allowed to place their ball from where they picked it up (e.g. the width of a score card, 6 inches, one club-length).
•    Whether there is relief for a ball embedded through the green (not just on closely mown areas).
•    The procedure to be followed if a player’s ball comes to rest on a temporary putting green.
•    If mats are in use on a teeing ground, whether the player must play from the mat, even if they are able to tee their ball within two club-lengths behind the tee markers without it being on the mat.
•    Confirming that the ball may only be placed once before it is in play.
•    Identifying general areas of ground under repair, such as cut turf seams, sand slits areas of drainage disruption and damage caused by heavy equipment.
•    Identifying dropping zones and when they may be used.

As I write this piece I am reminded of a situation I experienced some years ago when a fellow competitor, whose ball had embedded in the bank of a ditch inside the margin of a water hazard, started to prise it out. When I advised him that there was no relief for a ball embedded in a water hazard he abruptly replied that the notice in the pro-shop said, “Placing everywhere”!

Good golfing,

The above content is strictly copyright to Barry Rhodes © 2011 and may not be copied without permission.

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Monday, 28 November 2011

Two Golf Books for Christmas

This is a first for me, because in over three years of blogging on the Rules I have resisted the temptation to recommend any golf books, other than my own of course! However, I am going to break this practice by recommending two very different books.

My first recommendation is partly for selfish reasons. I am now receiving more questions on the Rules than I can cope with. The large majority of these can easily be answered by referencing the 'Decisions on the Rules of Golf' book. The most recent edition contains 17 new Decisions, 22 revised Decisions, 3 re-numbered Decisions, 98 revised Decisions and 35 withdrawn Decisions. I strongly recommend that anyone with an interest in the Rules of Golf should purchase a copy of this book, produced jointly by the R&A and the USGA. It is much easier and far more interesting to read than the difficult Rules of Golf book and will provide you with plentiful material for those après-golf exchanges in the Clubhouse or the bar. (US $ customers) (St £ customers)

I have provided links to both the USGA and R & A editions, but can assure you that the content is the same. The only real difference is the US English and UK English spellings.

And now for something that is completely different! When he sent me a copy of his recently published book, Jason Ross, an American author and golfer, told me that there is no other adventure book about golf written for young people. I read the 'The Magic Driver' this week and can honestly say that I cannot wait for Christmas, so that I can read this to my grandsons, aged 8 and 7. The story is about two youngsters, Justice, who is 12, and Gigi his younger sister, who live the simple life as two young golfers on the junior circuit, until they are given a magic driver that whisks them away to Thailand, where their real adventure begins. If you have children, grandchildren, nephews or nieces that have any interest in golf, I am pretty certain that they will enjoy this first book of what he hopes will be an adventure series, from Jason Ross. (US $ customers) (St £ customers)

If you are interested in either of these recommended books please click on the links above for more information. If you do purchase from this link I get 4% of the price to help defray some of my expenses. If you are receiving this blog by email click here to go to the links.

Thank you and good reading,
The above content is strictly copyright to Barry Rhodes © 2011 and may not be copied without permission.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Ball in Motion Strikes another Ball

What happens if your ball is struck by another player’s ball? First, check out this video of José Maria Olazabal’s ball striking José Maria Cañizares’s ball during the 1992 Volvo PGA Championship.

For those receiving this blog by email click on this link:

The easy bit to remember about this Rules situation is that whenever a ball in play and at rest is moved by another ball in motion after a stroke, the moved ball must always be replaced (Rule 18-5). It is a principle of the Rules of Golf that a player is entitled to the lie and line of play that they had when their ball came to rest. When a ball is to be replaced, the player, his partner or the person who moved it must place it on the spot from which it was lifted or moved (Rule 20-3a). The players must make their best judgement to estimate where the ball was lying before it was moved. The player whose ball hit the ball at rest must play their ball from wherever it came to rest.

There is no penalty when a ball played from off the putting green moves another ball. However, in stroke play, when a ball played from the putting green hits another ball on the putting green the person making the stroke incurs a penalty of two strokes. This is not the case in match play, where no penalty is incurred (Rule 19-5a); another example of where match play differs significantly from stroke play. The logic behind this is that in match play no-one else is involved other than the opponents playing the same hole; whereas in stroke play the players are competing against everyone else entered in the competition, whose interests have to be protected.

One interesting Decision on Rule 19-5 is that in stroke play, if a ball putted from the putting green comes to rest touching another ball on the green but does not move it, no penalty is incurred, Decision 19-5/4.

Good golfing,


The above content is strictly copyright to Barry Rhodes © 2011 and may not be copied without permission.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Position of the Hole on the Putting Green

Despite what you may have heard from ‘bar-room experts’ there is no Rule relating to the positioning of holes on the putting green, so there is no such thing as an ‘illegal’ hole location. However, there are many factors that affect the correct positioning of holes and those that are responsible for their placement should be aware of them all.

As this subject is outside of the Rules I am not going to attempt to elaborate on the various issues myself, but will instead link you to the authoritative sources of information;

USGA: Requirements for Hole Location on the Putting Green
R&A: Guidance on Running a Competition – Course Set-up – Hole Positions
Whilst these are the guidelines from the Ruling Bodies I strongly recommend an article written in 2008 by Jerry Lemons, an American golf course designer and consultant entitled ‘Putting Green Speeds, Slopes, and “Non-Conforming” Hole Locations’. It is from this excellent 5-page article that I am reproducing the following extract;
Hole Locations
In reality, there are several factors to consider when determining a hole location, but if it is cut on the putting surface, it is legal. A hole should be placed in such a position that no matter where the golfer is putting from, assuming continuous putting surface between himself and the hole, it should be possible to stop the ball within approximately two feet of the hole. A green so fast (or a hole cut in such a position) that a ball cannot be stopped near the hole from any point on the green, for example, is an unfair challenge. Hole placements as a general rule need to be five paces from the edge of the putting surface. No one likes to see a missed putt roll back or a well-struck putt roll completely off a green when the ball has missed the hole. We all agonize when it happens to us or a favourite professional on television. By using the charts and checking slopes near the hole, a hole location can be set far enough away from steep slopes and the edge of the green so that a ell executed shot that misses the hole will not run off the green, thus giving the player an opportunity to hole out. The five-pace recommendation is a good one on courses with large greens, but consider that on a 5,000 sq. ft. green, 25% of the green is in the five-pace area (Figure 2). There are courses with small or irregularly shaped greens for which the five-pace suggestion just does not work. Using a 10' guideline increases holeable space by 33%. An even better guide is to make sure that a hole is no less than 10' from the edge of a putting surface, but only if no hazards or steep slopes are within five paces of the edge of the green. This allows a player enough room to have a reasonable opportunity to recover from a good shot that just missed the green. Take care on greens with multiple contours and slopes. A hole location on the front portion of a multilevel green may be difficult for most golfers to navigate when above the hole. Authored by Jerry Lemons.
Remember, these are recommendations. The Rules of Golf do not define what are ‘conforming’ or ‘non-conforming’ hole positions.

Good golfing,

The above content (excluding the quoted extract) is strictly copyright to Barry Rhodes © 2011 and may not be copied without permission.

Monday, 7 November 2011

Ball Moves after Address – Rule 18-2b

Hovering putter above the putting green

Note that this blog will not be relevant following the revisions to the Rules of Golf effective 1st January, 2016.

One of the most welcome amendments to the Rules for 2012 – 2015 is the new exception to Rule 18-2b which states that a player will not incur a penalty if it is clear that something other than the player (e.g. wind or gravity) causes their ball to move after they have addressed it.

Let me try and explain the current application of this Rule (until 1st January), with four examples;

1. A player does not complete address of their ball because they hover their club above the ground (as in the photo above) without grounding it. Before they commence their stroke the ball is moved by the wind. Ruling: there is no penalty and the ball must be played from where it comes to rest.

2. A player completes their address (takes their stance and grounds their club) but before they commence their stroke the ball is moved by the wind. Ruling: one stroke penalty under Rule 18-2b and the ball must be replaced.

3. A player completes their address (takes their stance and grounds their club) and commences their stroke when their ball is moved by the wind; they abort their stroke without touching their ball. Ruling: one stroke penalty under Rule 18-2b and the ball must be replaced.

4. A player completes their address (takes their stance and grounds their club) and commences their stroke when their ball is moved by the wind; they complete their stroke, topping their ball forward a few yards. One stroke penalty under Rule 18-2b and the ball must be played from where it comes to rest.
Note that in the first example, if it is the player that causes the ball to move and not the wind, the player does incur a penalty of one stroke under Rule 18-2a.

I am aware that many golfers read Rule 14-5 and wrongly presume that this absolves the player from a penalty in the circumstances of example 4 above. Rule 14-5 - Playing Moving Ball, states;

A player must not make a stroke at his ball while it is moving.
    • Ball falling off tee - Rule 11-3.
    • Striking the ball more than once - Rule 14-4.
    • Ball moving in water - Rule 14-6.
When the ball begins to move only after the player has begun the stroke or the backward movement of his club for the stroke, he incurs no penalty under this Rule for playing a moving ball, but he is not exempt from any penalty under the following Rules:
    • Ball at rest moved by player - Rule 18-2a.
    • Ball at rest moving after address - Rule 18-2b.
So, in what circumstances does Rule 14-5 apply? Here is an example;
5. A player's short putt just misses the hole and in frustration they instinctively tap their ball into the hole while it is still moving. Ruling: two penalty strokes in stroke play, or loss of hole in match play, under Rule 14-5, and the ball is holed.
From 1st January 2012 a player will have addressed their ball when they have grounded their club immediately in front of or immediately behind their ball, whether or not they have taken their stance (new Definition of Address). Also, Rule 18-2b will be amended, as follows;
b. Ball Moving After Address
If a player’s ball in play moves after he has addressed it (other than as a result of a stroke), the player is deemed to have moved the ball and incurs a penalty of one stroke. The ball must be replaced, unless the movement of the ball occurs after the player has begun the stroke or the backward movement of the club for the stroke and the stroke is made.
Exception: If it is known or virtually certain that the player did not cause his ball to move, Rule 18-2b does not apply.
This change will result in there being no penalties incurred in examples 2, 3 and 4 above, because it was the wind that caused the player’s ball to move.

Three-time major winner, Padraig Harrington, is just one professional golfer that has welcomed this forthcoming change to the Rules;

“I am delighted with the changes, in particular the ball moving after address. Every time the wind blows I am worried that my ball is going to move and I am worried about grounding my putter, distracting me from trying to hole my putt. This change will speed up play, there won’t be as many suspensions and players won’t be getting penalised or disqualified unfairly. It is definitely giving us players a little bit of a break.”
Good golfing,

The above content is strictly copyright to Barry Rhodes © 2011
and may not be copied without permission.

For the information of those of you that are receiving my weekly ‘Rhodes Rules School’ series of weekly emails let me assure you that I will be updating those issues that are affected by the amendments before 1st January, so they will still be accurate. I will also send an email to the subscriber list with a list of those issues that require changes. You can subscribe to ‘Rhodes Rules School’, a free service, at this link.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Public Information or Advice?

Golfers should be acquainted with the concept of ‘Public Information’ in the Rules of Golf. The main reference to it is contained in the Definition of Advice;
"Advice" is any counsel or suggestion that could influence a player in determining his play, the choice of a club or the method of making a stroke.
Information on the Rules, distance or matters of public information, such as the position of hazards or the flagstick on the putting green, is not advice.
Unfortunately, there is very little guidance other than this on what constitutes public information, even in the Decisions book. The term appears to include any information that is ‘factual’ and does not involve any evaluation or interpretation. Following discussion on this matter with other Rules experts I offer you these additional examples of public information in relation to the Rules;
  • The line of play from the tee (e.g. if there is a right or left dogleg).
  • The length of a hole.
  • The location of due north.
  • The change in elevation from tee to green.
  • The contours of a putting green (e.g. if it slopes front to back or has a diagonal ridge from left to right).
  • If there is a water hazard on the hole.
  • If there is a slope down to a hidden water hazard and if there is, how steep it is.
  • The condition of the ground between a water hazard and the putting green.
  • The length and positioning of the rough in a particular area.
  • The stimpmeter reading of a putting green.
A grey area, which players need to take care over, relates to wind conditions. It is generally accepted that discussing weather conditions in broad terms is OK and fits the description of public information. However, wind rarely blows constantly in a single direction; it shifts in direction and intensity and is often affected by the surrounding environment, such as hills, trees and water. As soon as a player uses their judgement to estimate the effect of the wind on a golf ball they move into the area of giving advice, which of course incurs a penalty. For example, player A asks fellow competitor, B, the direction of the wind. B throws some grass in the air and it drops straight to the ground, but he notices that the flagstick in the hole is fluttering from left to right, as are the tops of the trees behind the green. He then replies that there is no wind at ground level, but above the tree level it is gusting from the west. This would incur a penalty of two strokes for both A, for asking for advice and B, for giving advice.

I am aware that there is confusion about whether players may discuss the distance between two points. Decision 8-1/2 confirms that information regarding the distance between two objects is public information and is not advice. It is therefore permissible for players to exchange information relating to the distance between two objects. For example, a player may ask anyone, including his opponent, fellow-competitor or either of their caddies, the distance between his ball and the hole. Also, where a Local Rule has been introduced permitting the use of distance measuring devices, the information obtained from a conforming device may be freely shared between players without penalty.

Finally, we have seen from the definition at the start of this article that information on the Rules is also not advice. I covered this subject in an earlier blog. The main point to remember is that whilst a player may provide information about the Rules, whether or not they have been asked, they may not recommend what option the player should take. If they say anything that could influence the player in determining their play they are penalised for giving advice.

Good golfing,

The above content is strictly copyright to Barry Rhodes © 2011 and may not be copied without permission.

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Monday, 24 October 2011

Main Amendments to the Rules of Golf 2012-2015

R&A Rules and USGA have announced their four-yearly revisions to the Rules of Golf, which will be effective worldwide from 1st January 2012. The good news is that there are very few changes that will cause us any difficulty in understanding and remembering. The majority of the changes are amendments aimed at improving the clarity of the Rules. I am pleased to present my summary of those changes that are most likely to affect golfers, whatever their handicaps or playing status.

•    Definition of Addressing the Ball:

At present, a player has addressed their ball when they have taken their stance and have also grounded their club. Under the revised Definition a player will have addressed their ball as soon as they ground their club, whether in front of the ball, or behind it. There is no requirement to take a stance. Consequently, a player will no longer address their ball in a bunker or a water hazard, as the Rules do not permit the grounding of a club in a hazard.

•    Rule 6-3a. Time of Starting:
Under the existing Rules, a player who arrives even 15 seconds later than their starting time should be disqualified from a competition, unless the Committee has introduced a condition of competition that reduces the penalty for players arriving within five minutes of their official starting time from disqualification to two strokes in stroke play, or loss of the first hole in match play. The revised Rule dispenses with the need for such a condition of competition, as the penalty of disqualification has been reduced accordingly in these circumstances.

•    Rule 13-4. Ball in Hazard; Prohibited Actions:
This will be a welcome change for golfers and course maintenance staff alike. Players will be permitted to smooth sand or soil in a hazard at any time, including before playing from that hazard, providing it is done for the sole purpose of caring for the course and nothing is done to improve the position or lie of their ball, the area of their intended stance or swing, or their line of play. How often have we wanted to smooth irregularities made by previous groups at one end of a bunker when our ball lies waiting to be played at the other end? Well, we will soon be able to do just that.

•    Rule 18-2b. Ball Moving After Address:

Note that this paragraph will no longer be relevant after the Rules of Golf revisions dated 1st January 2016 become effective.
Most of us will have been sympathetic when my near-neighbour, Padraig Harrington, penalised himself one stroke during The Masters in Augusta, in 2008, because his ball had moved after he had addressed it, even though the movement was obviously caused by the gusty wind blowing around the course. There have been several other similar, high-profile incidents since then. Well, now there is going to be an Exception to Rule 18-2b that exonerates the player from any penalty if their ball moves after it has been addressed (remember the new definition of address) when it is known or virtually certain that they did not cause the ball to move.

•    Appendix lV:
Although a new Appendix is to be added, relating to the regulations for the design of tees, gloves, shoes, clothing and distance measuring devices, I don’t think that it contains any noteworthy changes to the existing regulations. I am quite surprised that there is no change to the ruling that a player may not use a smartphone or PDA as a distance measuring device if there are other features or applications installed on the device that, if used, would be in breach of the Rules, whether or not they are actually used (e.g. the inbuilt compass feature on an iPhone). Perhaps this subject will be addressed in the revised Decisions on the Rules of Golf 2012 – 2013, which are due to be published soon. It is Decision 14-3/4, which prohibits the use of a compass on the course, that I would like to see changed.

•    Rules of Amateur Status; Hole-in-One Prizes:
The only material difference that I am aware of between the R&A Rules and the USGA Rules is going to be removed. From the 1st January there will be no general prize limit to the prize for achieving holes-in-one while playing a round of golf. Previously there was no limit in USA or Mexico, but a limit of £500 (or the equivalent currency) applied in the rest of the world.

Please note that the above are my interpretations of the most important revisions to the Rules of Golf, which are not effective until 1st January 2012. For the detail of all the amendments please refer to the 32nd edition of Rules of Golf, as published by R&A Rules and USGA.

Good Golfing,

The above content is strictly copyright to Barry Rhodes © 2011 and may not be copied without permission.

Between now and 1st January 2012, I will be scrutinising my book, ‘999 Questions on the Rules of Golf’ and my weekly ’Rhodes Rules School’ series to see what has to be updated, following the 2012 revisions to the Rules of Golf. I will publish those changes as soon as they are finalised, for the benefit of all my customers and subscribers.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Dropping Zones

I have received a request to cover the subject of Dropping Zones. The first point I will make is that there is nothing in the 34 Rules of Golf ruling on Dropping Zones. However, if the Committee considers that it is not feasible or practicable to proceed in accordance with a Rule providing relief (e.g. from immovable obstructions, abnormal ground conditions or water hazards) it may establish Dropping Zones in which balls may or must be dropped when taking relief. Generally, such Dropping Zones should be provided as an additional relief option to those available under the Rule itself, rather than being mandatory.

The procedures for using Dropping Zones depend on the exact wording of the Local Rule. In Appendix l, Part B, 8, the Ruling Bodies have provided this specimen wording, using the example of a Dropping Zone for a water hazard;

"If a ball is in or it is known or virtually certain that a ball that has not been found is in the water hazard (specify location), the player may:
    (i) proceed under Rule 26; or
    (ii) as an additional option, drop a ball, under penalty of one stroke, in the Dropping Zone.

Match play - Loss of hole; Stroke play - Two strokes."

Note: When using a Dropping Zone the following provisions apply regarding the dropping and re-dropping of the ball:
    (a) The player does not have to stand within the Dropping Zone when dropping the ball.
    (b) The dropped ball must first strike a part of the course within the Dropping Zone.
    (c) If the Dropping Zone is defined by a line, the line is within the Dropping Zone.
    (d) The dropped ball does not have to come to rest within the Dropping Zone.
    (e) The dropped ball must be re-dropped if it rolls and comes to rest in a position covered by Rule 20-2c(i-vi).
    (f) The dropped ball may roll nearer the hole than the spot where it first struck a part of the course, provided it comes to rest within two club-lengths of that spot and not into any of the positions covered by (e).
    (g) Subject to the provisions of (e) and (f), the dropped ball may roll and come to rest nearer the hole than:
        • its original position or estimated position (see Rule 20-2b);
        • the nearest point of relief or maximum available relief (Rule 24-2, 24-3, 25-1 or 25-3); or
        • the point where the original ball last crossed the margin of the water hazard or lateral water hazard (Rule 26-1).
A question that is often asked is whether a player may drop a ball in a Dropping Zone at a place that is nearer to the hole than where their ball lies. The answer is that they can, providing there is nothing in the wording of the Local Rule stating otherwise. A Committee is not prohibited from imposing this restriction. Although this principle is not referred to in the specimen Local Rule above there is reference to it in the recommended Local Rule for Temporary Immovable Obstructions (which are generally only applicable for tour events);
If the player has interference from a TIO, the Committee may permit or require the use of a Dropping Zone. If the player uses a Dropping Zone in taking relief, he must drop the ball in the Dropping Zone nearest to where his ball originally lay or is deemed to lie under Clause IV (even though the nearest Dropping Zone may be nearer the hole).
Let me finish by reminding you that the Local Rule reproduced above is a specimen Local Rule that is found in Appendix B at the back of the Rules book. Players who encounter a Dropping Zone on a course must check the exact wording of the Local Rule in operation. Of course, it is advisable to read all the Local Rules before commencing a round on any new course.

Good golfing,
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