Back-on-the-Line Change for 2023

There has been a slight change to the back-on-the-line procedure from 1st January 2023 and it is probably more in line with what golfers actually did, rather than what they were meant to do, following the 2019 rule changes.

This procedure for getting a ball in play is relevant for a few situations:

  • Penalty Area Relief (Rule 17)
  • Unplayable Ball Relief (Rule 19)
  • Taking relief outside a bunker from an Abnormal Course Condition in the bunker (Rule 16)

From 1st January 2023, You must now drop on the line (or as close to it as you can estimate) and the ball can then roll up to a club length in any direction from where it first landed. As long as it does not end up closer to the hole than your original reference point (e.g. where it last crossed into the penalty area from which you are taking relief) your ball will be in play.

The diagram below also helps explain what is OK or not OK.

6 thoughts on “Back-on-the-Line Change for 2023

      1. You must play from inside the Relief Area. If you play from outside it you will have played from the wrong place and would incur the general penalty (2 strokes or loss of hole).


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