|Ball located within putting green; Doonbeg and Riviera|
This is my overview of the six occasions when a ball may be dropped on a putting green. You may find it useful to have a Rule book handy to reference the Rule numbers.
Rules 28b and 28c:
If a player has deemed their ball unplayable and there is an area on a putting green that meets the requirements of either option b or option c of Rule 28, they may drop their ball there. Note that I have said a putting green, which means that it is not necessarily the putting green of the hole being played. If a ball is dropped and comes to rest on a different putting green the player would then have to follow the procedure in Rule 25-3, Wrong Putting Green, as a ball may not be played from this place.
In fact, Decision 28/11, describes a situation that allows a player to drop a ball on a putting green, the only time that this action is referred to in the Decisions on the Rules of Golf 2016-2017.
Q. A player's ball is eight feet off the ground, lodged in a tree. The player deems the ball unplayable. May the player proceed under option c of Rule 28 which permits him to drop a ball within two club-lengths of where his ball lay unplayable?Rules 26-1b and Rule 26-1c:
A. Yes. The player would be entitled to drop a ball within two club-lengths of the point on the ground immediately below the place where the ball lay in the tree. In some instances this may allow the player to drop a ball on a putting green.
There are many courses where the margin of a lateral water hazard runs close to a putting green. This could mean that the permitted area of drop is on the putting green of either the hole being played, or another putting green. In these cases the player may drop the ball on the putting green, in fact they may not place a ball on the putting green, as the Rules do not permit. As above, a ball dropped on a wrong putting green that comes to rest on it must then be lifted and dropped according to Rule 25-3.
R25-1b(ii)b and 25-1c(ii):
These are undoubtedly the strangest situations in which a player may drop a ball on a putting green. They relate to the extremely unusual circumstance where there is a bunker located within a putting green and there is either interference from an abnormal ground condition, typically casual water, or the ball is lost in an abnormal ground condition. If these circumstances prevail, and the player chooses to drop outside the bunker under penalty of one stroke keeping the point where the ball lay directly between the hole and the spot on which the ball is dropped, with no limit to how far behind the bunker the ball may be dropped, it could mean dropping on the putting green.
Note that a player may not drop on a putting green under R27-1a, Ball Lost, or R26-1a, Water Hazards, as they both refer back to Rule 20-5, Making Next Stroke from Where Previous Stroke Was Made, part (d) of which states that the ball must be placed if it was last played from anywhere on a putting green.
(Edit: 6th January 2016: My attention has been drawn to three other possible situations where a ball may be dropped on a putting green; Rules 24-2b(ii)(b), 24-3b(ii), and Decisions 1-4/9 and 1-4/10, all of which are similar situations to Rule 25-1b(ii)b where the player’s chooses to take relief for a ball that they do not want to play from a bunker. Edit: 6th July 2016: Another reader has drawn my attention to Decision 18-1/5, where a boy is seen running away from the putting green and throws back the ball that he had just lifted from the green.)
Thanks for reading this far. I promise that my next blog will be on a Rule that is encountered more often. Incidentally, my blogs will now be two-weekly rather than weekly, unless something really interesting happens at a Tour event that I cannot let pass.
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