Golf Rule 26 – Water Hazards and Lateral Water Hazards

Water Hazards and Lateral Water Hazards

WATER HAZARDS AND LATERAL WATER HAZARDS: OK, I need you to buckle down on this rule. There are two types of water hazards.
(i) A regular water hazard marked with yellow lines or stakes or both.
(ii) The other is a lateral water hazard marked with red lines or stakes or both. The difference between the two is that a lateral water hazard is situated where it’s impossible or not practicle to drop a ball behind the hazard. The committee makes the decision on what is a regular and what is a lateral water hazard. A lateral water hazard has two additional options.

NOTE–the margin of the water hazard extends both up and down.

NOTE–stakes are obstructions within the boundary of the hazard.

WHEN IS A BALL CONSIDERED IN A WATER HAZARD?
(i) A ball is considered in the hazard if any part of the ball touches the hazard line.
(ii) If a ball is deemed lost in a water hazard, REASONABLE EVIDENCE must exist that the ball was lost within the hazard.
OPTIONS:
(i) Play the ball as it lies within the hazard without penalty.
(ii) One-stroke penalty and play the ball at the spot or as near as possible from where the original ball was last played.
(iii) One-stroke penalty and drop a ball behind the water hazard no nearer the hole on an imaginary line with the hole and the point where the ball last crossed the margin of the hazard as the endpoints of the line.
(iv) Only if the player’s ball is deemed lost in a lateral water hazard. The player may with a one-stroke penalty drop a ball within two club-lengths no nearer the hole from the point the original ball last crossed the margin of the hazard, or at a point on the opposite margin of the hazard equidistant from the hole.

NOTE–the original ball may be cleaned if found and lifted following one of the above options.

BALL PLAYED FROM WITHIN WATER HAZARD: All player’s need to think about the consequences before playing their ball from within the hazard. If the player does play his ball from within the hazard and his next shot comes to rest in the same hazard, the player can
(i) play the ball as it lies from the new location in the same hazard
(ii) one-stroke penalty and drop at the spot or as near as possible on the spot the player last played his shot outside of the hazard (for example, on a par 3 if his first shot came to rest in the water he would have to play over from the teeing ground)
(iii) one-stroke penalty and drop a ball in the hazard at or as near as possible to the spot his last stroke was played. If the player doesn’t want to play from where he dropped a ball within the hazard he can add an additional penalty stroke and (i) play a ball behind the water hazard on the imaginary line explained above
(ii) if he is in a lateral water hazard drop within two-club lengths as explained above, or
(iii) play from the spot or as near as possible at the spot the last stroke was played outside the hazard.

BALL PLAYED FROM WITHIN WATER HAZARD AND IS LOST, OUT OF BOUNDS, OR UNPLAYABLE: in any of these situations a one-stroke penalty is incurred and the player can
(i) play a ball at the spot or as nearly as possible at the spot the ball was last played in the hazard, or add an additional stroke penalty
(ii) drop behind the hazard on the imaginary line explained above
(iii) if a lateral water hazard within two club lengths from where the ball last crossed the margin as explained above, or
(iv) play from the spot or as nearly as possible at the spot the last stroke was played outside the hazard.

NOTE–if unplayable outside the hazard the player can still use other available unplayable options.