Rule of the Month: In The Zone
By Sr. Rules Officials: Pete Scholz and Terry McEvilly
Click Here for the Rule of the Month Archive
When normal relief options don’t provide the player with any practical relief, the Committee may adopt a Local Rule allowing a player relief in a dropping zone. In other situations, the adoption of a dropping zone is to improve the pace of play. No matter the reason, there are certain Rules that pertain to dropping zones and every player should be familiar with them.
Test your knowledge of dropping zones with the following questions. The questions below pertain both to the golfer and the Committee in charge of setting up the course.
Questions: True / False
- The Committee, by Local Rule, may require the use of a dropping zone as the player’s only relief option, other than the stroke and distance option, which is always available.
- When a ball is dropped in a dropping zone, it must come to rest within two club-lengths of where it hit the ground when dropped.
- Dropping zones must be circular.
- Dropping zones should be positioned to make a hole easier to play.
- A player may stand outside the dropping zone when playing a ball within the dropping zone.
- If a ball that has been dropped in a dropping zone comes to rest outside the dropping zone, it must be re-dropped as near as possible to the spot where it was originally dropped.
- If the Committee has adopted two dropping zones for a particular situation, the player may choose to drop a ball in either zone.
- The use of a dropping zone always comes with a penalty of one stroke.
- The Committee may define the dropping zone as being within two club-lengths of a post or stake.
Similar to the teeing area, a player may repair the surface of the ground in the dropping zone before putting a ball into play.
- True. Model Local Rule E-1.3. Generally, a dropping zone will be adopted to provide the player with an additional relief option. In other words, the player may always proceed under the options of the relevant Rule. However, if the Committee wishes to require the use of a dropping zone, it may do so by Local Rule and the normal relief options of the relevant Rule may not be used.
- False. Model Local Rules E-1.1,2,3 & Rule 14.3. When a dropping zone has been established by the Committee, the entire dropping zone is the relief area. Therefore, the ball must be dropped in and come to rest within the dropping zone.
- False. Committee Procedures 2I(2). Dropping zones may be any shape and size. Generally, they will be about one club-length in radius. Depending on the amount of usage, the Committee may decide to provide a larger dropping zone.
- False. Committee Procedures 2I(2). Dropping zones should be placed to protect a hole’s difficulty. In other words, it would not be appropriate to place a dropping zone for a yellow penalty area on the putting green side of the penalty area. Typically, dropping zones should not be placed closer to the hole than where the player would be dropping under the other relief options of the relevant Rule.
- True. Committee Procedures for Model Local Rule Dropping Zone E-1. When a player uses a dropping zone, the ball must be dropped in, come to rest within and be played from the dropping zone. However, there is no restriction in the Rules as to where the player may stand when making the stroke.
- False. Rule 14.3c(2). When a ball is dropped in a relief area, in this case the dropping zone, it must come to rest within the relief area. If the ball has come to rest outside the dropping zone it must be dropped again and may be dropped anywhere within the dropping zone. If it again comes to rest outside the dropping zone, it must be placed as near as possible to where it struck the dropping zone on the second drop.
- False. Committee Procedures 2I. Generally, when multiple dropping zones are adopted for a particular situation, the player must use the nearest dropping zone that is not closer to the hole. In many situations, the Committee may establish stipulations regarding which dropping zone the player may use depending on the location of the ball.
- False. Committee Procedures 2I(1). Dropping zones may be established for a variety of reasons, including free relief from a wrong green, abnormal course condition or a dangerous animal condition. However, if the dropping zone has been adopted for a penalty area or an unplayable ball, the player will incur one penalty stroke.
- True. Committee Procedures 2I(2). There is no requirement that a dropping zone be a painted area. Defining the dropping zone as within one or two club-lengths from a stake allows the stake to be moved between rounds to ensure the dropping zone remains in good condition. Remember that a club-length is now defined as the length of the longest club in your bag except your putter.
- False. Rule 8.1. The entire dropping zone is the player’s relief area and any improvements to the conditions affecting the stroke would result in the player incurring the general penalty (Match play; loss of hole. Stroke play; two penalty strokes). The player may remove loose impediments and movable obstructions prior to putting a ball into play, but he or she must accept the condition of the ground in the dropping zone.