Rules of Golf

20-2a  Dropping  —  Ball must be dropped by the player him/her self while standing erect, holding the ball at shoulder height and at arms length.  If dropped by any other person or in any other manner and not corrected, There is a one stroke penalty.  Ball must be re-dropped if it strikes player or his equipment before it come to rest – no penalty.

20-2c  When to Re-Drop —  A dropped ball must be re-dropped if it: (1) rolls into and comes to rest in a hazard; (2) rolls out of and comes to rest outside of a hazard: (3) rolls onto and comes to rest on a putting green: (4) rolls and comes to rest out of bounds: (5) rolls and comes to rest in a position where there is interference from the condition from which relief was taken for an immovable obstruction, abnormal ground condition, or wrong putting green; (6) rolls and comes to rest more than two club-lengths from where it first struck  a part of the course ; or (7)rolls and come to rest nearer the hole than its original position, the nearest point of relief or the point where the original ball last crossed the margin of the water hazard or lateral water hazard.  If the ball, when re-dropped rolls into any position listed above, it must be placed as near as possible to the spot where it first struck a part of the course when re-dropped.

Recently, I put my drive into the light rough where a staked tree was impeding my swing.  Having no desire to damage the tree or break my club I took a drop.  The drop landed in the furrow of the aeorater plow that has been working lately.  I could not see the back of the ball at all but thought I had to play it.  I did try to dig it out but with a inch of dirt between the club and the ball, the result was predictable.

After the ensuing double bogey I asked my playing partners if I could have re-dropped just so I would know what to do if this ever happened again.  They were sympathetic but thought no, I had done what I had to.

I have since read the rule above.  Reference 20-2c (5) where it mentions an “abnormal ground condition”.  I believe that if I had known this rule, I could have claimed that this furrow constituted an abnormal ground condition and I could have re-dropped.

I welcome your thoughts on this.  Am I correct in my thinking or not?

I share this story not to complain that I lost a couple of strokes but to educate us all so that we have a better understanding of the rules.  If my interpretation is correct, you might have this situation someday yourself.  By reading this post you might save a stroke or two someday.  That is my hope

I do realize that the furrow would have to be classified as ground under repair to qualify as an abnormal ground condition.


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