***  Pro Tip ***
 
WATER HAZARDS - RULE 26

In the definitions section of the Rules of Golf a "water hazard is any lake, sea, pond, river, ditch (think hole 9/18), surface drainage or other open water course (whether or not containing water) and anything of a similar nature on the course... a ball is in a water hazard when it lies in or any part of it touches the water hazard (p.34 definitions). 

There are two types of water hazards. A water hazard is marked by yellow stakes or lines which outline the margin of the hazard. The other type is a lateral water hazard which is marked by red stakes or lines to outline the margin of the hazard.

Here are your options if you ball lies in or touches any part of a water hazard
  • Option1. You may play the ball as it lies. Keep in mind that your club cannot touch any part of the hazard.
  • Option 2. Under a penalty of one stroke you may:
    • A. Play a ball from where your last shot was played or
    • B. Drop a ball 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
Here are your options if your ball lies in or touches any part of a lateral water hazard. The two options for a water hazard can be applied here as well. However, the option 2B rarely applies. The additional options are:

Under a one shot penalty you may drop a ball within two club lengths of, and not nearer the hole than:
  • A. The point where the ball last crossed the margin of the hazard or
  • B. The point on the opposite side of the hazard equidistant to the hole from the point where the ball last crossed the margin of the hazard
The last option of dropping a ball on the opposite side of a lateral water hazard may save you a shot when you can apply it. It is best to know your options with this rule. Of course, the best rule is to avoid hazards! I am sure you will lower your scores out on the golf course. Have fun and keep it in the short stuff.
Tim McGowan
Assistant Golf Professional
Winthrop Golf Club