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What Is The Crowd Rule In Golf? – Gallery Drop Rule Explained!

golf crowd rule
golf crowd rule

Most golfers absolutely hate when they know the general area their golf ball landed in, but they cannot find the ball. Spending multiple minutes looking for a golf ball we know more or less the location of feels like a terrible waste of time.

What if there were a solution to these lost balls and all the time wasted? There is a solution, and it is called The Crowd Rule in golf. If you are tired of wasting time due to lost balls, you may wonder: What is The Crowd Rule In Golf?

In this article, we will tell you exactly what The Crowd Rule is in golf so that you can increase your pace of play and feel less frustration when out golfing with friends.

What Is The Crowd Rule In Golf?

In golf, The Crowd Rule allows you to place down a new ball in the same conditions as your lost ball if you and your group saw the general area the original ball landed in, but you do not want to waste time looking. This unofficial rule’s name comes from the idea that a crowd would eventually find your ball if you know roughly where it is.

Every golfer knows how frustrating it can be to be out with your friends playing golf, just to lose sight of the ball after it goes in a particular direction. You and your group all know the general area the ball landed in, but after a minute or two, you cannot seem to find it!

What are you supposed to do next? Keep looking 5 more minutes, holding up the group waiting behind you? Take a lost ball stroke penalty even though you know the ball is somewhere in a playable area, but you just cannot find it?

One great solution to this issues is The Crowd Rule.

The Crowd Rule is an unofficial house rule that allows you to save time, frustration, and speed up the pace of your play. The Crowd Rule is also sometimes called the Gallery Drop Rule. The Crowd Rule and the Gallery Drop Rule are the same thing.

Essentially, The Crowd Rule states that if you and your group know the general area your lost ball landed in, but you do not want to waste time looking for it, you can place down a new ball in the same conditions as where you think your lost ball is, without a stroke penalty.

The Crowd Rule essentially solves the issue of finding a needle in a haystack. Even if you know the needle (golf ball) is in a specific haystack (golf course area), it is still incredibly hard to find, and not worth your time looking for if you have another needle (golf ball) you can use instead.

The name of The Crowd Rule comes from the idea that if a crowd would eventually find your ball in the general area you know the ball is in, you can consider it to be found, and simply place down a new ball to act as the “found” ball.

Maybe you and your group of 4 golfers cannot instantly find your “lost” golf ball in the area you know the ball is in, but a crowd would quickly cover the entire area and find your ball.

Golfers around the world who are concerned with pace of play love to use “The Crowd Rule”. Many of these golfers claim that every casual golfer should use The Crowd Rule to give everyone a better, smoother experience on golf courses with a good pace of play.

The Crowd Rule offers an instant resolution to the search of a lost ball in an area you know the ball is located in.

Situations In Which To Use The Crowd Rule

There are many situations in which The Crowd Rule is a great element to incorporate into the way you play golf.

For example, some golf courses barely mow their rough, and the blades of grass are 3 or 4 inches tall. In such tall grass, the balls are gobbled up, and become very hard to locate, even if they are still playable balls that should not result in a stroke penalty.

In such a case, you could simply place a ball down in the general rough area where you know the ball is, if the group agrees.

Another situation in which The Crowd Rule really shines is if you are playing in autumn, and there are many leaves covering the fairway and rough. The fact is that golf balls can easily disappear among the leaves, and you cannot reasonably pick up every leaf to uncover your ball.

Instead, you can just use The Crowd Rule and place a new ball in the general area where you know your golf ball is located. Be honest with where you place your ball instead of trying to get closer to the golf hole and improving your lie unreasonably.

Finally, remember The Crowd Rule is an unofficial house that not everyone believes is acceptable, but some people love as it improves pace of play. Make sure you and your group agree on the rules to apply before you get in a situation where The Crowd Rule is applicable.

Ideally, find a full group of friends who like to play with the same rules as you, as that will give a good group synergy, and avoid having to arrive to common rulings grounds with every new group you play golf with.


There you go! After reading this article, you have discovered exactly what the Crowd Rule, or Gallery Drop Rule is. You also learned how the Crowd Rule can save you time and frustration as well as speed up your pace of play!

Do you plan on using The Crowd Rule from now on? Were you already using The Crowd Rule? Do you think The Crowd Rule has its place in casual golf? Let us know in the comments down below!

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