Skip is about to take a drop because her ball came to rest on a yardage marker. What’s wrong with this picture? If you spotted the fact that she is about to drop incorrectly (below shoulder height), you would be correct. You could call this the ‘heavy ball syndrome’. Skip drops incorrectly from the waist.
According to The Rules of Golf a golfer must stand erect, hold the ball at shoulder height and arms length away from the body and then drop. If the ball is dropped by any other person or in any other manner and the error is not corrected before the next stroke is made, the player incurs a one-stroke penalty. A player may re-drop in the correct manner to avoid the penalty stroke.
In the picture to the left, Skip makes a correct drop to the side. Remember, you may not spin the ball or use an underhand toss of the ball in the process of dropping it (Decision 20-2a/2 under the USGA Rules of Golf). It does not matter if the extended arm is out to the side or in front of the body. She may face any direction she wishes as long as the golfer’s posture is correct and the ball strikes the appropriate part of the course.
In this picture, Skip actually has her back to the target green and her arm is extended shoulder height in front of her body. She is about to make a correct drop.
So the next time you are playing golf with your friends and one of them has to take a drop in the rough, watch out for that “heavy ball syndrome.” The player may start out correctly with her arm at shoulder height, but as she looks at the deep rough from which she will be playing her next shot, the ball gets heavy and the arm gets lower until she finally lets go of the ball at about waist-height. Don’t be afraid to suggest that she re-drop the ball correctly to avoid the penalty stroke.