Golf Rules Golf Rule 26 Water Hazards Including Lateral Water Hazards Video
So we’re now going to look at the rules that might apply to a golf ball that's gone into a water hazard. Now there is a couple of different options here, so bear with me as we explain this. Firstly we've got to understand did the golf ball definitely go into the water hazard. Because if this golf ball has landed on the edge here and it has gone bouncing down, but we never saw it go into the water hazard there is a chance that it could be lost on the bank somewhere. Now just because you walk up there and you can't find your golf ball, you can't guarantee that it definitely went into the water hazard.
So the terminology in the rulebook is you have to be virtually certain. So if it's come flying down here and you've seen a big splash of water go up, then we’re virtually certain the ball went in. But if you hit the golf ball through a big pile of trees and it went somewhere near the water hazard, we can't guarantee that the golf ball is definitely gone in there. Now in that situation if you can't find the golf ball, you’d actually have to declare the ball lost. So let's imagine that this golf ball is definitely gone into the water hazard.
Now we're not going to play it from the water hazard in this situation. It’s too deep under there. So we have options to take a drop. Now in this situation when we've actually got red stakes around the side of the water hazard, you see the red stakes round here. Sometimes that might be marked out by a red line as well. The red stakes mean it's a lateral water hazard. Now lateral water hazards give us three different options of what we want to do if our ball is virtually certain to have gone into the hazard. Option number one is to go back and re-hit the shots that went into the hazard.
So we'd go back to where we hit it from, we would hit from there. Now we had a one shot penalty. So the shot that went in counts for one. The penalty shot to take it back counts for two and then we're playing number three. So you have to work out whether that's the best option for you. A second option if your ball has gone into a water hazard would be to pick the golf ball up and bring it back directly in line with the point it last crossed the water hazard and the flag. So let's imagine we're playing out there towards the red flag.
We think the ball came in over here across the water hazard and went splash here. I then mark a point on the edge of the hazard, where the ball last crossed. I'm allowed to take a straight line back as far as I like in line with the flag. And this point walking back this way I can find myself a nice flat patch of ground, a good distance back from the flag, drop it straight down here and then go and play that one. And again that cost me a one shot penalty. So the shot that went in counts for one. The shot dropping back out counts for two. I'm then playing three.
Now other option particularly noticeable in a standard lateral water hazard that you can't do in a normal yellow state water hazard would be I am actually allowed to drop the ball to the side of the hazard. Now imagine this scenario here, where we're playing a par four straight down. There's a water hazard like a river or a stream running all the way down the side of the hole. Hitting a ball in, I’ve only been able to drop the ball back in line with the ball in the hole. You might never get a drop, because you're on the other side of the river or the river is so wide you can never get a drop. So in a lateral water hazard there's an extra rule that says you are allowed to drop to the side of the hazard.
So in this scenario here my ball has gone in and landed here. This is the point it last crossed. I can now come out sideways from that point there by up to two club lengths because it's a lateral hazard. So if it was a yellow state hazard, I've only got two options, straight in line back or re-hit. Because it's the lateral hazard, the third option comes into play, two club lengths out to the side, drop down and then play from here. And in certain situations where you've got big wide rivers or streams that run laterally down the side of a golf course, that's going to be a decent option for you.
Now one other thing to consider, if a ball is in a hazard, you can play it. Some time hazards dry out in the middle of summer. There's less water in them. Maybe the ball is on the bank and you can play it. That's not a problem at all. But you just got to be careful of the rules that are associated with that things like you're not allowed to ground your golf club. So you wouldn't be able to sort of wander in here and start smashing around and taking practice swings. This sort of thing is going to get you a penalty if you are deemed to be in the perimeter of the hazard. As you are setting up to the golf ball, we wouldn't want to be touching the grass on the way back either.
You've got penalties for that. So if you determine that the ball has gone in the hazard, the first thing get your rulebook out, work out what your options are to drop it. Is it a normal hazard? Is it a lateral hazard? Am I going to play it? You've probably had enough trouble going into a water hazard. Let's not add more trouble by getting the drop wrong, getting the ruling wrong and adding more penalty shots next time you are in a water hazard.