- Note: According to the Rules, a “water hazard” can be a sea, lake, pond, river, creek, ditch or similar waterway, whether or not it contains water, that lies on the golf course. Regular water hazards are marked with yellow stakes and / or outlines, and anything within the boundary (including ground and the stakes / lines themselves) is part of the hazard.
- Drop as close as possible to the spot where he played the previous shot.
- Drop behind the water hazard, keeping the point where the ball last crossed the hazard directly between the hole and the drop spot. The player can go back as far as he likes on this line.
- Drops within two club-lengths, but no nearer the hole, of the spot where the ball crossed into the hazard, or
- Drops at a spot on the opposite side of the hazard equidistant from the hole.
- Proceed according to the steps in Rule 26-1, with a one-stroke penalty, or
- Go back to the tee or the spot through the green from which he initially hit into the hazard, with a one-stroke penalty.
- Drops and plays another shot from the hazard, as close as possible to the point of the previous shot.
- Adds another penalty stroke and proceeds under the steps in Rule 26.
- Adds another penalty stroke, then goes back and plays from the tee or the spot through the green from which he initially hit into the hazard.
- Penalties for violating Rule 26: Match play – Loss of hole. Stroke play – two strokes.
Golf Rule 26, Water Hazards (Including Lateral Water Hazards) – Simplified Version
A “lateral water hazard” is a water hazard (or part of one) that’s positioned in a way, in relation to the hole, that makes it impossible or impractical for a ball to be dropped behind it in keeping with the rules defined below. Lateral water hazards are marked by red stakes and / or lines.
A ball can be played from within a regular or lateral water hazard under the methods described in Rule 13.
26-1. If the player hits his ball into a regular water hazard (vs. a lateral hazard), he may do any of the following and take a one-stroke penalty:
If dropping from a lateral hazard, the player takes a one-shot penalty and either:
If it’s not certain whether the ball went into a water hazard, the player proceeds under the “stroke and distance” rule (27-1) as if the ball was lost or went out of bounds.
The player can lift and clean his original ball, if it’s found in the hazard, or substitute another ball.
26-2. If a player hits from a water hazard into the same or another water hazard, he can drop and play under the stroke-and-distance method (drop as close as possible to the previous spot, adding a one-stroke penalty). He does not have to play from the spot after taking the drop; in this case, he can:
If a player hits from a water hazard and his ball is lost, unplayable or out of bounds, he takes a one-stroke penalty and does one of the following:
26-1. Relief For Ball In Water Hazard
It is a question of fact whether a ball that has not been found after having been struck toward a water hazard is in the hazard. In the absence of knowledge or virtual certainty that a ball struck toward a water hazard, but not found, is in the hazard, the player must proceed under Rule 27-1.
When proceeding under this Rule, the player may lift and clean his ball or substitute a ball.
(Prohibited actions when ball is in a hazard – see Rule 13-4)
(Ball moving in water in a water hazard – see Rule 14-6)
26-2. Ball Played Within Water Hazard
a. Ball Comes to Rest in Same or Another Water Hazard
b. Ball Lost or Unplayable Outside Hazard or Out of Bounds