Monthly Rules Advice – Water hazard

Now that the season has begun we often get asked various questions concerning the rules of golf, as competitors often get frustrated with each other regarding what is correct and incorrect. So from now on we will bring you a monthly RULE OF THE MONTH; this month’s rule concerns water hazards, Rule 26.

First, what is the difference between yellow and red staked water hazards?

  • Yellow water hazards are often frontal hazards, the player has almost no possibility of avoiding the hazard during normal course of play, for example the stream on the first hole of PGC before the green.
  • Red staked hazards (lateral) are water hazards that usually run parallel next to the hole, so during normal play they only come in to play by hitting some bad shot. For example, the stream on the left of the 6th hole and 11th.

So, now that this is clear, what are your options in a water hazard?

  • There are 3 options that are available for both hazards:
  • Play the ball as it lies, without the cost of a penalty stroke.
  • Go back as close as possible to where you have played your last shot and drop a ball under the penalty of 1 stroke (stroke and distance)
  • Drop a ball in line with the point the ball last crossed the margin of the hazard and the hole. You can go back as far as you would like, not closer to the hole. Under the penalty of 1 stroke.
  • There are 2 more options available for lateral (red) hazards:
  • Drop a ball at the point where the golf ball crossed the margin of the hazard, within 2 club lengths, not closer to the hole, with a 1 stroke penalty.
  • You can also drop a ball on the opposite side of the hazard, if it is not closer to the hole, again within 2 club lengths, under a 1-stroke penalty.