At my home course, the par 5, 3rd hole runs 585 yards uphill from tee to green, alongside a steep bank which parallels virtually the entire length of the hole. To the right of the fairway there are maybe 10 yards of rough, then a large curb and cart path also running the entire length. On the right side of the cart path starts the steep bank. The right side of the path is marked with red stakes indicating that the bank is considered a lateral hazard, not OB. This bank has NO water on it. It is primarily weeds and high fescue, nearly impossible in which to find a ball, and if you do, even more difficult to hit it out.
So, when I do land in this hazard, unless I see my ball clearly playable in the hazard, I typically just estimate where I crossed the hazard line, take a one stroke penalty and drop a ball behind that point. The question I have, since the cart path takes up pretty much the two club-length drop zone of which I am allowed according to the rules, do I have to drop on the asphalt cart path, or can I drop two club lengths to the left of the path? Or must it be as near as possible to the left side of the cart path without interference from the curb with my swing? I have seen it played different ways, but for tournament purposes, I should know the rule. I never think to ask in the clubhouse. I usually only think of it when I get in the situation, mumbling to myself, "Oh yeah, I was gonna ask somebody about this, but as usual, forgot."
What's your take?