Rule of the Week
May 31, 2016 
Harry is playing a Par 4.  On his second shot to the 370 yard hole over water he hits green side but the ball trickles back into the water.  What options does Harry have?  

RULE 26-1. Relief for Ball in Water Hazard

It is a question of fact whether a ball that has not been found after having been struck toward a water hazard is in the hazard. In the absence of knowledge or virtual certainty that a ball struck toward a water hazard, but not found, is in the hazard, the player must proceed under Rule 27-1.

If a ball is found in a water hazard or if it is known or virtually certain that a ball that has not been found is in the water hazard (whether the ball lies in water or not), the player may under penalty of one stroke:

  1. Proceed under the stroke and distance provision of Rule 27-1 by playing a ball as nearly as possible at the spot from which the original ball was last played (see Rule 20-5); or

  2.  Drop a ball behind the water hazard, keeping the point at which the original ball last crossed the margin of the water hazard directly between the hole and the spot on which the ball is dropped, with no limit to how far behind the water hazard the ball may be dropped; or

  3. As additional options available only if the ball last crossed the margin of a lateral water hazard, drop a ball outside the water hazard within two club-lengths of and not nearer the hole than (i) the point where the original ball last crossed the margin of the water hazard or (ii) a point on the opposite margin of the water hazard equidistant from the hole.

When proceeding under this Rule, the player may lift and clean his ball or substitute a ball. 

To simplify, in the diagram above: 
  • Player hit his second shot, it crosses the water but it rolls into the Water Hazard (Yellow Staked Hazard).  What are the players options for the Water Hazard?  The player has 2 options other than playing it as it lies.   
    • Player could play it as it lies however this is usually not an option,
    • a.) play as near as where the player made the previous shot behind the water hazard,
    • b.) Back on the flag-line keeping the point where the ball last crossed the margin of the Water Hazard (point yellow X) with no limit as to how far behind the player drops
    • c.) NOTE: these options are not available as they are only available for a Lateral Water Hazard (Red Staked/Lined Hazard)

Please remember, when the Hazard has yellow stakes, the player must cross the water safely.  If she/he does not play from behind (or hit over the water hazard) it is a serious breach of the water hazard rule and will result in a disqualification.   

Happy golfing and remember the Rules of Golf Matter
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