June - 2015
Because I've been asked exactly how to take a drop from a cart path several times in the last month, I thought an explanation without the Rules would help.
O.K. Your ball has come to rest on a cart path, how do you proceed correctly?
Ask yourself one simple question-
This question tells you exactly WHERE your free relief should be."Am I taking relief for my SWING or am I taking relief for my STANCE?"
If you are standing ON the path, you are taking relief for your STANCE.
If you are standing ON the grass, and your ball is on the path, you are taking relief for your
Your (free) relief then is the NEAREST point that you determine off the path, for your swing, OR for your stance. You DO NOT have a choice. It is one side or the other, and you might not like your options…
You are allowed to mark that spot, (with a tee) then drop within one club length of that point, and your ball when dropped can roll and additional two club lengths from your starting point, (where you marked with a tee) no closer to the hole.
That means you can legally end up almost three full club lengths from the point that you marked as your starting point.
BUT, when you are taking relief, NEVER, NEVER, and NEVER, (got it?) pick up your ball until you have decided what you want to do.
The best thing to do is place a tee next to your ball, and figure where you might drop and play your next stroke before you pick it up.
And yes, when you pick up your ball, you can clean it before you drop and play your next stroke.
This doesn't mean you get free relief if a bush or hazard or some other obstacle is exactly where you want to drop.
Maybe your best option is to play the ball off the cart path, and the moment you pick up your ball, that option is gone. See, simple…