The R&A - Working for Golf

Lifting, Dropping and Placing the Ball

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

When your 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.

Common situations where a dropped ball must be re-dropped include when it:

  • rolls to a position where there is interference from the same 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 last crossed the margin of a water hazard.

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 Rule 20-2c