Sunday, November 06, 2011

Free Drops

In some cases during a round, you may have a free drop if your ball lands in a specific lie as outlined by the R&A. With a free drop you can lift and drop the ball a little further back onto a playable lie. So, when can you free drop?

If your ball lands on something artificial you can have a free drop. However, as has been noted in the previous post, this is only the case if the artificial object cannot be moved. If you can move the artificial object away from the ball, then you should mark the position of the ball with tee marker and do so.

If your ball lands in casual water this is also another time that you can pick up your ball and drop it behind and out of the casual water. Note that casual water is any heavy and temporary accumulation of water on the course such as deep puddles or ice. As such, a lake is not casual water even if the water levels can rise and fall. If you land in casual water within a bunker, then you should still drop your ball back so that it lands in a dryer spot of the bunker if that is possible.

Some parts of a golf course may be ground under repair. Ground under repair are areas of course maintenance, and the golf course should highlight this with a ground under the repair sign. When your ball lands in a ground under repair area of the course, you can also pick your ball up and free drop it just behind the ground under repair area.

A number of golf courses may have carted paths. If your ball lands on a cart path, then you can also have a free drop.

So, you can free drop your ball if it lands on artificial object, casual water, ground under repair or a cart path. However, if that is not the case then you will usually have to add a stroke to your scorecard. Note than a dropped ball, either free or otherwise, should not be closer to the hole than it was before you dropped it.

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