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New Rules - Lost Balls and Relief

There is nothing good about losing a ball or being forced to take a drop because the ball cannot be played from its current position. However, it is no good trying to ignore it as this happens to every golfer, regardless of ability.

Your ball will be declared lost if it is not found within 3 minutes of searching. This helps to keep up the pace of play and has been shortened in 2019 from 5 minutes. It pays to remember you now only have 3 minutes to search for a ball during tournament play because if you are slow in doing so, the time will disappear quickly.

If you are required to take a drop ball, you will drop the ball straight down from knee height. The ball cannot touch any object on its path to the ground and if you fail to obey by these rules, you will be asked to drop the ball again.

Failure to do so a second time will result in a one shot penalty. When dropping the ball, it must be done inside a designated relief area.

When dropped, the ball must come to rest within the designated relief area or it must be dropped again.

The relief area will be one or two club lengths depending on the type of relief being taken and you must use the longest club in your bag when measuring the relief area.

In the previous set of rules, you were mostly forced to continue with your original ball when taking relief unless it was a penalty relief. Under the new golf rules, you are free to substitute your ball when taking relief and will not come under any review for doing so when taking a drop ball for example.

While many of these rules may seem minor, important it is to have a sound understanding of the changes to the laws of the game.

Next time you lose a ball and are forced to take a drop, you can do so with confidence, using the correct procedure and not be called out by other players for making a mistake.

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