Rules of Golf
From your Webmaster
Quick FactThere are two types of water hazards - regular and lateral. Courses mark regular water hazards with yellow stakes, while lateral water hazards (think creeks along the edges of the fairway) are marked with red stakes. [I have found some courses that are different. Read the scorecard carefully to find out if the local designations are different from the normal.]
You're in the water...Being in a water hazard is not a place you want to be. But once you're in there, determining what to do next is important. In any case, be sure to note where you entered the hazard. This point will be important.
Regular Water Hazard: [3 options]1) Play the ball where it lies (inside the hazard - think WET). No penalty strokes assessed, but the play is risky.
2) Replay another ball from where you hit. Count the stroke that got you in the water and add a penalty stroke to get you back to your previous position. If that position is on the tee you are permitted to re-tee your ball.
3) Go to the point where the ball entered the hazard. Line yourself up with the pin and move backwards along that line as far as you wish. Drop the ball. Count the stroke to get in the water and add a stroke to get out of the water.
Lateral Water Hazard: [5 options]You can exercise any of the three options above.
4) Drop within two club lengths of the point the ball entered the hazard, no nearer the hole. Count the stroke that got you in the water and add an additional stroke to get out of the water.
5) Drop at a point on the opposite side of the hazard, equidistant from the hole. Count the stroke that got you in the water and add an additional stroke to get out of the water.
But...I almost made it over. The ball hit the other side and then fell back into the hazard. What do I do now?
It depends on whether it is a regular or lateral hazard. But the rules above apply in any case. Generally, you will bring the ball back along a line to the pin, with the water between you and the pin, drop and hit. See #3 above.
The only exception to the rules above is if the course has a designated drop area for players to hit from once then go in the water. That would be a local rule and would be on the scorecard or a posted sign.
We encourage members to play by the official rules of golf as developed by the USGA and The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews.
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