As provided in Appendix I, Part B of the Rules of Golf, a Committee has the authority to establish special areas on which balls may be dropped when it is not feasible or practicable to proceed exactly in conformity with Rule 24-2b or 24-3 (Immovable Obstructions), Rules 25-1b or 25-1c (Abnormal Ground Conditions), Rule 25-3 (Wrong Putting Green), Rule 26-1 (Water Hazards and Lateral Water Hazards) or Rule 28 (Ball Unplayable).
For example, if there is a lateral water hazard behind a green and there are certain places where a ball may cross the margin at which there is no way of dropping a ball within two clublengths not nearer the hole, the Committee may decide that it is impracticable for a player to proceed in accordance with Rule 26. In these circumstances, the Committee could establish a dropping zone and adopt the following Local Rule:
“If a ball is in or it is known or virtually certain that a ball that has not been found is in the lateral water hazard behind the 13th green, the player may:
(i) proceed under Rule 26-1; or
(ii) as an additional option, drop a ball, under penalty of one stroke, in the dropping zone.
PENALTY FOR BREACH OF LOCAL RULE:
Match play – Loss of hole; Stroke play – Two strokes.”
The procedure for dropping and re-dropping, as they apply to dropping zones, is outlined in Appendix I, Part B, 8 of the Rules of Golf.
Prior to establishing dropping zones, Committees should be aware that such areas may suffer from a concentration of play and, therefore, new dropping zones may have to be established frequently when the old area has become badly damaged. As such, dropping zones may not always provide the simple solution first envisaged and Committees should examine all possible alternatives before their establishment.