Golf Rules – Yellow Water Hazards

RulesWe all know the perils of the tee shots off 2,3 and 13 and are well aware of the ditch in front of 3 but are we sure what relief we get from these hazards?

Water, what hazard?

First off not all water on the course is classified the same and so options as to the relief we can take differ.

Water Hazard – Yellow Stakes

A Water Hazard is defined by Yellow Stakes, these hazards are more often than not found around ponds, lakes or ditches that run across holes.

Relief

You have three options available to you if you ball ends up in a Yellow Water Hazard.

A – Your first option.  As always you may play the ball as it lies, however you may never “ground your club”.  “Grounding of the club” means that you may not allow your club head to touch the ground before striking the ball, so when addressing the ball your club head should hover and never touch the ground.  It is also a penalty when taking practice swings to ground your club, so the best bet is to take your practice swings outside of the hazard before addressing the ball.  If you do ground your club you will incur a 2 shot penalty in medal or loss of hole in match play.

It is important to also be aware that a player cannot

  • Test the condition of the hazard or any similar hazard
  • Touch the ground in the hazard or water in the water hazard with his hand or a club
  • Touch or move a loose impediment lying in or touching the hazard, this includes twigs and leaves.

Again any infringements will incur a 2 shot penalty in medal or loss of hole in match play.

B – You can go back and play a ball from where your last shot was played under penalty of one shot.

C – You can take a drop any distance behind the water hazard keeping a straight line between the hole, the point where the ball last crossed the margin of the water hazard and the spot on which the ball is dropped.  This is under penalty of one shot.

So using the 2nd as an example Figure 1 (Below) shows the correct line for players who wish to take a penalty drop after ending up in the pond to the left of the tee.  A ball enters the hazard along the Orange line.  Players take their drop by imagining a line between the point the ball crossed the hazard and the pin, shown as a dark Blue solid line in the example.  Players can then drop their ball as far back as they wish along the dark Blue dotted line depicted in the example.  Basically a player entering a Yellow hazard taking a drop would have to play over the hazard again if they have taken the correct drop.

Figure 1 – Yellow Water Hazard Drop

2nd Water Drop

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Golf Rules – Ball Unplayable

 

Rule 28 – Ball Unplayable

The first thing to say here is that a player may declare his ball ‘Unplayable’ at anytime anywhere on the course within its boundaries other than when in a water hazard.

When a player declares his ball ‘Unplayable’ he has 3 options, all under penalty of one stroke.

  1. Go back to the spot, including the tee, where their last shot was played from.
  2. Go back as far as they want on a line that keeps the position of the ‘Unplayable’ ball between themselves and the hole.
  3. Take a TWO club length drop from the position of the ‘Unplayable Ball’ no nearer the hole.

So for example, a player at our 13th hole drives and finish right behind the tree in the middle of the hole, next to the ladies tee.  They could play the ball but decide it is too risky and declare it ‘Unplayable’.

So the player could

  1. Return to the tee, tee up their ball again and hit a shot which would be their 3rd shot (1st shot ended under the tree, 2nd shot is the unplayable penalty, 3rd shot is the tee shot) or…
  2. Mark their ball and walk backwards on a line that maintains the position of the unplayable ball is between them and the pin, this would be towards the 12th green and the tree should still be in the direct path of the players 3rd shot (1st shot ended under the tree, 2nd shot is the unplayable penalty, 3rd shot is from their new dropped position) (Picture 1) or….
  3. Mark their ball with a tee and measure out two club lengths either side of the tree no nearer the hole.  Mark the furthest point with a tee peg then drop the ball within the two club lengths, the ball may roll another two clubs.  A ball must only be dropped again if it comes to rest nearer the hole, more than two clubs lengths from the drop location or within a hazard.  If the ball comes to rest in a divot or hard ground or indeed back behind the tree it is hard luck and the ball is back in play and the players 3rd shot must be played from that spot. (1st behind the tree, 2nd penalty shot for the relief, 3rd shot is played from the new location) (Picture 2).

Picture 1

13th

Picture 2

DropZone

Golf Rules OK

RulesGolf , its Competitions and its Rules at club level are run with an unenforced and unwritten trust relationship between competitors which makes the sport standout in the way that its rules are applied.  While the integrity of Golf is something wonderful and cherished by the sport rules are still broken each and every week up and down the country by Golfers of all levels unbeknownst to the Clubs or other Competitors.  However the vast majority of these infringements are entirely unintentional given the amount of rules and situations that can arise during a round.

But all golfers should know all the rules of Golf, after all there are only 34 of them!  Yes just 34 rules but with 100 sections and subsections in reality there are around 2000 actual rules, no one can honestly know them all can they?  How can a Golfer be confident he has applied the correct rule in any given situation or indeed help out a fellow Golfer unsure himself about his own situation?

While all golfers should be aware and understand the basic set of rules, this is not always the case.  “how many club lengths do I drop?  Can I drop it here? Is this a rabbit scrape?  There is sand on my line?” are all common questions from players during rounds, questions no one should be afraid or embarrassed to ask if they are unsure.  So it doesn’t hurt to look at the basic misunderstood rules and go deeper into the depth of the R&A rules of Golf to become better more confident players when situations arise.

So we will be running a series of blogs to hopefully look at and clarify  some of the most overlooked rules as well as some of the more obscure situations, starting with “The most misunderstood rules of Golf”.


 

THE MOST MISUNDERSTOOD RULES OF GOLF

  1. Red Lateral Hazard

Option 1 – Play it from the hazard.

Option 2 -Replay the shot from the original position incurring a stroke and distance penalty.

Option 3 –Draw a line from the hole to where the ball last crossed the margin of the hazard and drop anywhere behind that point keeping the point between you and the hole incurring a 1 shot penalty.

Option 4 – go to the point where the ball last crossed the margin of the hazard and drop within 2 club lengths, no nearer the hole, on either side of the hazard incurring a 1 shot penalty.

  1. Yellow Water Hazard

Option 1 –Play from hazard.

Option 2 –Replay the shot from the original position incurring a stroke and distance penalty.

Option 3 – Draw a line from the hole to where the ball last crossed the margin of the hazard and drop anywhere behind that point keeping the point between you and the hole. You would incur a 1 shot penalty.

  1. Lost Ball or Out -of –Bounds

After looking for a maximum of 5 minutes, you must go back to where the shot was originally played from, and replay, incurring a stroke and distance penalty.

  1. Unplayable Lie

Option 1 – Take 2 club lengths relief no closer to the hole and assess a 1 stroke penalty.

Option 2 – Replay the shot from the original position incurring a stroke and distance penalty.

Option 3 – Take the ball back as far as you want keeping the point where the ball lays between you and the hole incurring a 1 shot penalty.

  1. Improving Your Swing Path

You cannot bend, break, or hack anything growing or fixed if it improves your lie, your stance, or your area of intended swing. The penalty for doing so is loss of hole in match play, or a 2 shot penalty in stroke play.

  1. Unplayable Lie in Bunker

Option 1 –Take a drop of no more than 2 club lengths no closer to the hole, but still in the bunker incurring a 1 shot penalty.

Option 2 –Replay the shot from the original position incurring a stroke and distance penalty.

Option 3 – Go back as far as you like in the bunker and drop keeping the spot where your ball laid between you and the hole. This incurs a 1 shot penalty.

  1. Removing Objects in a Bunker.

You may not move or remove any loose impediments in the bunker unless they are foreign to the area. Example- you may remove a candy wrapper but not a pine cone or tree branch.

  1. Number of Allowed Clubs.

You are only allowed to carry 14 clubs in your bag. The penalty for carrying more than 14 clubs:

Match Play- Loss of a hole – maximum 2 holes.

Stroke Play – 2 strokes per hole up to a maximum of 2 holes or 4 shots.

  1. Casual Water

Find your nearest point of relief no closer to the hole where neither you nor your ball lie in water that can be seen without pressing your feet up and down. You may then drop your ball within 1 club length from that point no nearer to the hole at no penalty.

  1. Grounding Your Club in a Hazard.

Practise swings may be taken inside a hazard as long as you don’t touch the ground, sand or water with your club. The top of the grass may be touched during a practise swing. The penalty for grounding your club is loss of the hole in match play, or a 2 shot penalty in stroke play.

  1. Accidentally Moving the Ball

There is a 1 stroke penalty for accidentally moving your ball, and it must be replaced in its original position before hitting. There is another 1 stroke penalty for hitting the ball from the wrong place if it is not replaced. There is no penalty for accidentally moving the ball when on the tee.

  1. Removing Loose Impediments

If, in moving loose impediments you accidently move your ball, you must return the ball to its original position, and penalize yourself 1 stroke.

  1. Asking for advice

It’s against the rules of golf to ask an opponent what club they have to hit. The penalty for this breech is loss of hole in Match Play, or a 2 shot penalty in Stroke play.

  1. Ball on a cart Path.

You are entitled to free relief.

Step 1 – Determine the ‘nearest point of relief’. This is the point where the ball would lay affording the player both swing and stance from the cart path.

Step 2 – you are entitled to 1 club length relief from the point where the ball would lie once full relief is taken.

Step 3 – After dropping, the ball may roll up to 2 club lengths no closer to the hole.

  1. Changing Club Characteristics.

Clubs may not be altered in any way once play has begun. If a club is altered during the normal course of play, such as bending it after hitting a tree while attempting to hit the ball, the club may be taken to the shop for immediate repair and a replacement club may be used until the original club is repaired.

If the club is modified outside the normal course of play, such as breaking or bending it in a fit of anger, it must be taken out of play for the remainder of the match. Should it be use again the penalty is disqualification, whether Match or Stroke play.

  1. How to drop the Ball.

After determining the nearest point of relief, you may stand outside the drop area, no closer to the hole, and extend your hand to the side dropping the ball from Shoulder height. The ball may roll up to 2 club lengths no closer to the hole. If the ball rolls farther than that you must re-drop.  If after dropping 2 times the ball continues to roll past 2 club lengths, you must replace the ball where it first touched the ground.

  1. Repairing the Line of you Putt.

You may repair any ball marks in your line and remove any pebbles of foreign objects in your line, you can use any means you want to do this as long as you do not press down at anytime. You may not fix spike marks. The penalty for doing so is loss of hole in Match Play, or a 2 shot penalty in Stroke play.

  1. Hitting the Wrong Ball.

The penalty for hitting the wrong ball in Match play is loss of Hole. If Both players hit the wrong ball, only the first player to do so would be penalized as that would be the end of the hole.

The penalty for hitting the wrong Ball in Stroke play for either players is 2 strokes and the original ball must be replayed from its original position.