Golf Drop Rules: Dropped or Replaced Golf Ball

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Have you ever wondered whether or not your golf ball is legally in play once you’ve replaced it in front of your marker on the green? To put any concerns to rest, Mark Wilson of the PGA Rules Committee teaches you exactly what Rule 20-4 has to say about golf drop rules and the status of a dropped or replaced ball.

How golf drop rules work

Golf drop rules dictate if you lose a stroke when the wind, rain or other natural element moves your ball after it has been dropped or replaced. The same rules that apply because of a hazard or out-of-bonds shot apply on the green.

As an example of a time when golf drop rules are unclear, Mark describes a scenario in which a player picks up his golf ball on the green after marking it. He cleans it off, waits for his playing partners to finish the hole, and then resets the ball for his putt, but he keeps the marker behind the ball until he’s ready to play. Now, say the ball moves because of the wind or the slope of the green while the marker is still down–is the player penalized? Technically, yes, according to Rule 20-4, which states that a dropped or replaced ball is ruled in play as soon as it touches the playing surface.

The importance of golf drop rules

There are a number of situations like this regarding golf drop rules and other scenarios when amateur golfers may not know if they should be penalized a stroke. That’s why it’s highly important to know the rules and recognize when they should be enforced. Mark offers several similar tips on the PGA rulebook throughout our video series, so feel free to check out the rest and educate yourself on the nuances of the game.

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