The new Rules of Golf have changed how golfers drop when they take relief. From now on, golfers don't drop from shoulder height. They drop from knee height.
The reason for the change is a practical one. The USGA and R&A realized that, by dropping from shoulder height, lots of golfers would have to perform a drop multiple times because the ball would hit the ground with too much speed and bounce out of where a golfer could take relief. So, the thought went, by forcing golfers to drop from knee height, there would still be an element of randomness in taking relief but the number of re-drops would be slashed.
The problem, though, is golfers haven't really practiced the new drop height. Every golfer alive has dropped from shoulder height, by putting the ball in their hand, sticking their arm out to the side and letting go. (Some learned to drop by letting the ball go over their shoulder, behind them.) Naturally, then, golfers have been seen trying to adapt to the new height by doing the same thing...but from knee height.
It looks ridiculous.
Golfers basically look like they're doing an American awkwardly doing a curtsy in a movie where the lead character is amazed to learn they're actually British royalty, bending their knees toward the opposite side of their drop arm, then dropping their arm uncomfortably to knee height and letting go. They're also hoping their arm-aim is good, because it's illegal to take a drop that's not from knee height. So it has to be in the ballpark.
What golfers need to embrace the spirit of newness in the Rules of Golf and recognize a new drop height needs a new drop stance.
So, here's the best way to take a drop from knee height:
- Put the golf ball in your dropping hand
- Bend over at the waist
- With your drop hand in front of your body, put the ball at knee height
- Drop the ball, making sure it doesn't hit you
While it might look a golfer is about to twerk before they drop, and there's nothing stopping them from doing that I suppose, this at least looks comfortable. It's also more efficient, as a golfer can then easily pick up the tee they use to mark a drop area and keep moving with the round.