New rule for 2019: Lost and OB balls


You are right and I feel like an idiot. However, my point still stands, you’d be hitting 4 after the drop from, presumably, the fairway, same as if you went back and re-teed. (Hitting 3 off the tee, hitting 4th from fairway). The only advantage to going back to the tee would be if you knew you could put the ball in a better position off the tee, than where you’d be dropping.


Why are people assuming they get to automatically make the drop in the fairway? That’s not the case at all.


Well if the rules say something like “near” or “in the vicinity”, that’s very subjective and it’s only a matter of time until someone takes their drop as if their drive was piped down the middle.

That’s very tongue-in-cheek of course, but unless it states a more definitive guide as to where to drop, people will for sure be taking advantage of it.

Full disclosure: I haven’t read the final draft so I have no idea what it actually says.


Because the rule essentially says find where the ball when out, take the line back to the nearest fairway edge no closer to the hole and drop within two club lengths of that spot.


Nothing on this says you can drop in the fairway. The fairway edge is the outer edge of the area. Drops cannot be made in the fairway per the diagrams and explanations. I think that is what @Kualoa33 is referring to.


The USGA video explaining the new drop rule shows otherwise. You find the edge of the fairway, no closer to the hole, then take two club lengths in to the fairway, no closer to the hole, and drop anywhere within the relief area.


Ah yes, you’re right. But middle of the fairway is not in play.


True, unless the fairway is 4 club lengths wide!


If you play a provisional, you cannot use this rule. So you’ll have a choice of dropping in the fairway and lying 4 or taking a provisional ball.

I really like this rule, but I worry it’s going to be overused. I think most people already play it this way when they can’t find a ball or it goes OB, so it just formalizes it. The negative is that in a serious competition, I feel like you should really have to hit another ball, because getting that second ball in play after you smoke one OB can be tough. For the vast majority of golfers and rounds, this is great, though.


For an ball OB, I can see the split in opinion. I really don’t care much, I’ll use the rule if I smoked the drive and have it out there a bit.

For lost balls, though, I think this is a great rule change. If I hit a drive that eventually landed in a bush or shrub (but in bounds), I don’t know how many times I would hit a provisional from the tee JIC I can’t find it or not sure where it exactly landed. This rule will cleanup play in that case if you are really keeping tight score.

My question on the lost ball side…my club has a line of hedges behind our 3rd green (angle is very road hole-esque). behind those hedges is a teebox, but many times a ball sent over the green will bounce into those hedges and be lost. What’s the new procedure there? Am I miss a standard rule that allows me to drop when I can’t find the ball but know it’s line into the hedge?


Under current rules the only relief available for a lost ball (ball in the hedge) is stroke and distance, meaning you would do the “walk of shame” back to where you played, drop a ball and take a 1-stroke penalty. So if your 2nd shot found the hedge and disappeared, after failing to find it within 5 minutes, your only option is walk-balk to where you played the previous shot and drop a ball. You are now laying 3 and hitting 4.

Under the new rules, you would find the spot where you think the ball is lost, walk it back to the edge of the fairway (no nearer the hole), take a drop (from knee height or higher) and be laying 4 and hitting 5.

Seems to me that on poor shots stroke and distance will be often be less punitive. The 2 shot penalty is pretty brutal. Most folks who do this in casual play call it a 1-stroke penalty (effectively making it a lateral hazard). I like the rule for pace of play and casual play but I think it is not for serious play. I just have no idea how you would determine where the ball is likely to be lost most of the time.


If you are lying 3, then your next shot would be the 4th… thats a two stroke penalty…


This is the kind of stuff that turns off those interested in learning the game and extends rounds into the 5-hour mark. These rules are much too dense, confusing and open to arguing/ interpretation. It’s nonsense. And this is coming from a single-digit handicapper who’s been playing for 40 years. In a nutshell, OB is WAY too penal. An amateur will automatically be scrambling for a double at absolute best. A round destroyer. Solution: get rid of OB. Make it all lateral hazard. Drop two club lengths from where it entered, take your penalty and hit your third. OB needs to go the of the way of the dodo. At all levels, even pros. Solution for lost balls: instead of slamming your club on the ground in frustration and dropping multiple f-bombs, do the same while keeping your eye on your shot so you can see where it ended up. With 10 years of caddying under my belt I can promise you it works wonders.


This is a complete wussification of the official rules. Of course everybody in their Wednesday night league drops with a one shot penalty. They also give each other putts and pick up after double pars. It turns 100s into 89s. Which is fine, it’s just not the real rules.

Even though it’s a 2 shot penalty with a drop—-that still takes away the pressure of having to retee hitting 3 trying to make sure you don’t hook another one OB. And it takes away the walk of shame back to the tee while your group and the group behind you are watching you try not to lose your shit. You are effectively elimating those potential blowup holes. 13s or 14s on now can be double bogeys. Anyone on here that says they’ve never sent three balls in a row OB is lying. I mean I’m not going to mind as I’m playing, I’m just saying it changes everything.


Out of bounds is stupid. It’s only there because people want to live on the golf course without taking the inherent risk of living on the golf course, or buying the stronger windows.


Glad to see we have a Rules of Golf purist in our midst… Were you also upset when they stopped allowing you to call in rules violations that you witnessed on TV?


Ha! No, call ins don’t fit in with my purist agenda, they didn’t have broadcasts back in the old tom Morris days.


Agreed. OB and hazards should be treated equally. Why is one essentially a 2 stroke penalty and the other a 1 stroke penalty simply because one is a backyard with a pool and the other a pond? Its arbitrary.


Because the stakes are painted different colors. ::roll_eyes:


Nothing ruins a course more than excessive and unnecessary white stakes all over the place. It’s one of the main reasons I hate most residential area courses. Grumpy homeowners don’t want people hacking balls off their lawns.

But I understand it. Pretty sure courses have to mark areas they do not own as OB. If they were marked as hazards, they’d have players trying to play out of those areas all the time.