2019 Rule: Players will continue to drop a ball when taking relief, but the dropping procedure will be changed in several ways as detailed in Rule 14.3:
- The focus of the dropping procedure will be on a specific “relief area” set by the Rule under which relief is being taken and will be either one or two club-lengths from a reference point (and may have certain other limitations).
- The ball will need only to be dropped in and come to rest in the relief area; and there will be no re-drop requirement if the dropped ball accidentally hits a person or object after hitting the ground but before coming to rest in the relief area.
- If the dropped ball comes to rest outside the relief area, it will be dropped a second time; if it comes to rest outside the relief area after being dropped a second time, the player must place a ball on the spot where the ball dropped the second time first touched the ground.
- If the placed ball will not come to rest on that spot after two attempts, the player will then place the ball on the nearest spot (not nearer the hole) where it will come to rest.
Reasons for Change:
The new procedure will mean there will be greater consistency across all relief procedures, making it simpler for players to know where and how to drop a ball:
- The new procedure when dropping with reference to a spot will be to drop a ball anywhere in a relief area measured one or two club-lengths from (but not nearer the hole than) that spot.