One of the most welcomed new rules of golf to come into effect next year is the new local rule alternative to stroke and distance.
As of January 1, 2019 a whole raft of new changes to the rules of golf will come into play including this alternative to the stroke and distance rule.
As it stands if you hit the ball out of bounds, or lose your golf ball you must either play your provisional ball (if you’ve hit one) or take the walk of shame back to the point where you last played from and hit another ball under the penalty of one stroke.
This new rule will be launched as a local rule next year, meaning it will be up to the golf course you are playing at as to whether they choose to implement it or not.
Often referred to as the Irish Drop rule (like the one in play at Barnbougle), the golfer can drop in an area near where the golf ball was lost, or went out of bounds – under the penalty of two strokes.
The correct procedure (if the local rule has been implemented by your club as of January 1, 2019) is not “intended for higher levels of play, such as professional or elite amateur level competitions” and is explained in detail in the above video.
In summary though you define one straight line from the point where you ball is likely to be lost or went out of bounds, and another near the edge of the fairway (no closer to the whole). These two lines define an arc behind which you can drop you ball anywhere and as far back as you like – under the penalty of two strokes.
For example, if your tee shot goes into some bushes and is lost, after defining you drop area you will drop and be playing your fourth shot. Effectively a similar situation to if you had played a third from the tee – but without losing too much time and without the walk of shame.