Lifting, Dropping & Placing the Ball (Rule 20)

Prior to lifting a ball that has to be replaced (e.g. when you lift a ball on the putting green to clean it), the position of the ball must be marked (Rule 20-1).

Placing Ball

When the ball is being lifted in order to drop or place it in another position (e.g. dropping within two club-lengths under the unplayable ball Rule), it is not mandatory to mark its position although it is recommended that you do so.

When dropping, stand erect, hold the ball at shoulder height and arm’s length and drop it.

The most common situations where a dropped ball must be re-dropped are when the ball:
  • rolls to a position where there is interference from the condition from which free relief is being taken (e.g. an immovable obstruction)

  • comes to rest more than two club-lengths from where it was dropped, or

  • comes to rest nearer the hole than its original position, the nearest point of relief or where the ball has last crossed the margin of a water hazard.

There are nine situations in total when a dropped ball must be re-dropped and they are covered in Rule 20-2c. If a ball dropped for a second time rolls into any of these positions, you place it where it first struck the course when re-dropped.

When to re-drop