One of the first things a golfer learns when they start playing on a golf course is how to take a drop.
After all, most new golfers stink, and they hit a lot of wayward shots. Many of them find water, and some just can't be found. By the mercy of a playing partner, a new golfer might be allowed to just treat a forest as a lateral hazard -- now called a penalty area -- and take a drop with a one-stroke penalty.
Golfers have long been taught to grab a golf ball, stick out their arm to the side, and then drop from shoulder height. Under the new golf rules out in 2019, golfers will have to learn how to drop in a new way to take relief.
New way to drop a golf ball
The 2019 Rules of Golf change the traditional drop procedure and drop position of shoulder height, changing the drop height to knee height. The ball cannot touch any other body part on the way to the ground.
The USGA and R&A made this change for the reason that they wanted to prevent golfers from having to drop more than one time. After all, a drop from shoulder height could have enough momentum that, once it hits the ground, could move the ball out of where a golfer is allowed to drop. Then the golfer has to drop again, and they may have to then place the ball where it struck the ground after the second drop.
With the new way to drop from knee height, the randomness of a drop is still preserved, meaning a golfer can't just pick a spot, drop it there and expect it to stay there. However, the ball will travel at less speed and make it less likely to drop out of the relief spot. Dropping from knee height also will make it less likely a ball plugs in sand when a drop happens in a bunker.