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loose impediments in penalty area

The Rules of Golf you HAVE to know in a penalty area

What are the rules of golf in the penalty area?

 

What rules of golf apply if your ball ends up in a penalty area? Let’s find out…

rules of golf

We would recommend you watch the video below for the best explanation, but if you would prefer to read the article, just keep on scrolling…

What are your drop options when you end up in a penalty area?

Your relief options come under Rule 17. There are two different types of penalty areas, red and yellow. Which type you are in affects what type of relief you can take.

Yellow penalty areas

There are two options for relief if you find your ball in a yellow penalty area. In each circumstance, you are playing under a one-stroke penalty.

Stroke and distance relief

You can opt to return to the spot where your previous stroke was made and hit again under Rule 14.6.

Back on the line relief

Your second option is to drop the ball outside the penalty area, keeping the estimated point where the original ball last crossed the edge of the penalty area between the hole and the spot where the ball is dropped. There is no limit as to how far back the ball may be dropped.

penalty area back in line relief

Red penalty areas

If you are in a red penalty area, you can choose to use any of the relief options above or you can opt to take lateral relief.

This involves dropping within two club lengths of the estimated point where the original ball last crossed the edge of the red penalty area.

You must not drop nearer the hole, and you cannot drop the ball inside the penalty area.

If you take lateral relief you are dropping with one penalty stroke.

Do you have to find your ball to take relief?

No, a ball is often lost if it has been hit into bodies of water. If a player’s ball has not been found and it is known or virtually certain that the ball came to rest in a penalty area, you may take relief in the same manner you would if you found your ball in the penalty area.

Can you stand in a penalty area to hit your shot?

Yes, a player can stand in a penalty area to hit a ball that is inside or outside the area. You can also choose to play your ball from the penalty area if you so desire.

penalty areas

Can you ground your club?

The Rules were updated in 2019, meaning you can now ground your club and take a practice swing in penalty areas. Gone are the days of having to hover your club before hitting the ball.

Can you move marker posts?

Unlike OOB boundary posts, penalty area posts are moveable obstructions. This means if they impede your swing or are in your intended target line you can move the posts to help make your next shot that bit easier.

Hannah Holden

hannah holden

Hannah Holden is the Equipment and Instruction Editor here at National Club Golfer. If you’re looking to improve your game, by changing your golf swing or upgrading your golf equipment she’ll have the answers.

As well as writing lots of features and reviews you can find her on our YouTube channel giving you insights on the latest rules, clubs and tips to improve your golf game.

Hannah is a member at Alwoodley golf club. You will either find her here or driving up and down the country playing in a variety of elite amateur events.

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