Posted on Leave a comment

What Is A Drop In Golf? – Explained!

what is a drop in golf
what is a drop in golf

Golf is known to be a technical sport full of technical terms that you may not know the meaning of. One of those golf terms commonly mentioned on golf courses and TV broadcasts is the term “Drop”.

If you are reading this article, you may wonder: What exactly is a “Drop” in golf?

In this article, we will explain to you exactly what the term “Drop” means in golf.

What Is A Drop In Golf?

In golf, a “Drop” is the act of dropping a golf ball down into a playable lie after your previous stroke landed the ball into an unplayable or penalty area, or after you lost your ball. When dropping a golf ball from a penalty area, you incur a stroke penalty.

In the great game of golf, the term “Drop” is often mentioned on golf courses and on TV broadcasts.

In golf, the term “Drop” refers to the act of dropping a golf ball in order to take relief. In other words, “Dropping” a golf ball allows you to change the location of your golf ball from an unplayable lie to an area with a playable lie.

You can also take relief with a golf ball “Drop” when you lose your golf ball and cannot find it. However, performing a golf ball “Drop” often comes at the cost of a stroke penalty.

For example, if you lose your golf ball in a water hazard, out-of-bounds, or in another penalty area, you will be able to take relief, but you will incur a stroke penalty.

To perform a “Drop” in golf, you must have the right to take relief. For example, if your golf ball comes to rest in a sprinkler head, which is considered unplayable terrain, you get to take relief.

This means you get to move the ball often one club length away from the sprinkler, in the relief area, thanks to a “Drop”. When dropping your golf ball, you can use either your original golf ball, or a new golf ball.

The shape of the relief area is often a half circle, with the flat side of the half circle facing the golf hole, with its center being where your ball was.

The radius of the half circle is usually one or two club lengths of your longest club, other than the putter. This longest club is often the driver.

You must assure yourself that you yourself drop the golf ball from knee height. Your caddie or your friend cannot drop the golf ball for you. However, if you are playing in a team tournament, your teammates may “Drop” the golf ball for you.

You can drop the golf ball from any stance or position (e.g. squatting down), as long as you drop the ball from the height of where your knees would be if you were standing.

Next, you are not allowed to throw the ball or spin it. You must simply let go of the golf ball for it to drop straight down. In addition, while the ball falls from your hand, it cannot touch you or pieces of your equipment.

Finally, the golf ball must drop within the confines of the drop zone, with the random lie caused by the ball bouncing and stabilizing on the turf. You can stand either inside or outside the relief area, as long as the ball’s first bounce is in the relief area.

If the “Drop” is performed incorrectly, the golfer with the infringement must reattempt the “Drop”, as many times as necessary to satisfy the requirements.

If the “Drop” was done incorrectly, and the golfer plays the ball anyways, the golfer receives a one stroke penalty. If you dropped the ball incorrectly and play the ball located outside the relief area, you take a two stroke penalty.

If you “Drop” the golf ball in the relief area with correct technique, but it rolls out of the relief area, you must attempt a “Drop” again. On your second attempt, you must identify the exact spot where the ball drops in the relief area.

On your second attempt, if the ball exits the relief area again even though you dropped it correctly, you need to “place” the golf ball.

Placing the golf ball entails that you literally place the golf ball on the exact point that you previously identified, without dropping it. The ball must be placed on the ground, at rest, after which it will be considered to be “in play”, and you can play it normally.

If you would like to require “Drops” less often and improve your golf score, you can read our guide: How To Improve Your Golf Score? – 9 Pro Tips.

Origin Of The Term “Drop”

The origin of the expression “Drop” in golf is quite simple, and is based in the English language.

The verb “to Drop” in English means “to let or make something drop vertically”.

In golf, when you are performing a golf ball “drop”, you are literally dropping the ball down and letting it fall onto the turf with just the force of gravity.

Therefore, it makes perfect sense where the term “Drop” shot got its name from in golf, as it literally refers to a drop.


There you go! After reading this article, you have learned exactly what a “Drop” is in golf.

Do you have any other golf expressions you wish to know more about? Do you think “Drops” in golf should exist, or should we suffer in difficult-to-play lies? Let us know in the comments down below!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *