The Unplayable Lie – Options On Where You May Drop

This is another one of those golf rules that you want to be clear on!  Knowing your options on where you may drop for an unplayable lie can take strokes off your score – you just need to remember a few key points.

Who Determines If a Lie Is Unplayable?

Trust me when I tell you that I’ve announced my intention to take a drop and penalty stroke for an unplayable lie and have been met with resistance from my fellow competitors or playing companions. 

They say, “That’s not unplayable!”  Well, my friend, if I find it “unplayable” in my own humble opinion, then I can take a drop under rule 28a.  The player is the sole decision maker for determining if a lie is unplayable.

Yes, it costs you a one stroke penalty to use 28a, but it may be well worth it in certain scenarios. 


Find Yourself  In a Bush?

Many seasoned players are under the impression that the “up to two club lengths” distance required for your drop for this rule is flexible, shall we say. Are you one of the players who believe that when you find yourself in a bush or shrub you can start the two club length measurement from the edge of bush?  

The truth is, you must measure from where the ball is currently at rest, and in the case of Karen’s ball in this video below, the ball is pretty deep inside this bush.  Not only that, but there’s trouble all around it as well. 


TIP: Don’t pick up your ball until you have reviewed and/or measures all of your options.

EVEN BETTER TIP: Ask one of your playing companions to watch as you take your drop, and tell them what you’re doing. 

The Nitty Gritty From USGA’s Website:

Rule 28 – Ball Unplayable

The player may deem his ball unplayable at any place on the course, except when the ball is in a water hazard. The player is the sole judge as to whether his ball is unplayable.

If the player deems his ball to be unplayable, he must, under penalty of one stroke:

a. Proceed under the stroke and distance provision of Rule 27-1 by playing a ball as nearly as possible at the spot from which the original ball was last played (see Rule 20-5); or

b. Drop a ball behind the point where the ball lay, keeping that point directly between the hole and the spot on which the ball is dropped, with no limit to how far behind that point the ball may be dropped; or

c. Drop a ball within two club-lengths of the spot where the ball lay, but not nearer the hole.

If the unplayable ball is in a bunker, the player may proceed under Clause a, b or c. If he elects to proceed under Clause b or c, a ball must be dropped in the bunker.

When proceeding under this Rule, the player may lift and clean his ball or substitute a ball.



ggblue peace

GirlfriendsGuideToGolf  –  Golf Etiquette, Rules & Style 


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