The 2019 Rules of Golf brings a new ball drop procedure.
In the past, to take a drop a player held the ball in the fingers at shoulder height with arm fully-extended and let it go.
For 2019, a ball MUST be dropped from knee height and fall to the ground without touching any part of the player’s body or equipment.
Since most people’s arms aren’t long enough to reach their knees, a player must now scrunch down or tilt or kneel to get the ball down to knee height — which can make even the smoothest cat look a bit clumsy.
The USGA’s Mike Pagel provides the reasoning. “We wanted to eliminate all those (re-drop) complications. We said, ‘Let’s get the player closer to the ground.’ And if you drop it from knee-height, that ball is going to bounce a little less.”
While Pagel’s rational makes sense, the USGA could have accomplished the same result by allowing a player to drop the ball from “any height below the waist to above the knee”. That would allow most drops to come off without looking like a poorly performed plié while still allowing the squat/low tilt for the occasional bounce-away situation.
Golfers don’t need to look any more awkward than they already do. So maybe the USGA will tweak this rule with the next revision…