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WATER HAZARDS: GENERAL

26/1

When Ball Is in Water Hazard

Q.Is a ball in a water hazard when some part of the ball breaks the plane that extends vertically upwards from the margin of the hazard even though the ball does not touch the ground or grass inside the hazard?

A.Yes, since the Definition of "Water Hazard" provides that "the margin of a water hazard extends vertically upwards and downwards."

26/1.5

Status of Ball That Touches Water Hazard and Another Part of the Course

Q.A player's ball touches the line defining the margin of a water hazard but also touches another part of the course (e.g., a bunker or the putting green). On which part of the course is the player's ball considered to lie?

A.The player's ball is considered to lie in the water hazard.

26/2

Ball Within Natural Margin of Water Hazard But Outside Stakes Defining Margin

Q.Stakes defining the margin of a water hazard were improperly installed. As a result, an area which clearly was part of the water hazard was outside the stakes and, thus, technically was outside the hazard. A player's ball came to rest in water in this area. The player claimed that, in view of the alignment of the stakes, his ball was in casual water through the green. Was the claim valid?

A.No. The Committee erred in not properly defining the margin of the hazard as required by Rule 33-2a, but a player is not entitled to take advantage of such an error. Since it was clear that the place where the player's ball lay was within the natural boundaries of the water hazard, the claim should not be upheld.

Related Decision:

33-2a/4 Where to Place Lines or Stakes Defining Margin of Water Hazard.

26/3

Unmarked Water Hazard

Q.An unmarked ditch on the left of a hole is in bounds, but the left-hand margin is out of bounds. Accordingly, it is impossible to drop behind the water hazard under Rule 26-1b. A player's ball comes to rest in the ditch. Is the player restricted to playing the ball as it lies or proceeding under Rule 26-1a?

A.It is the responsibility of the Committee to define accurately the margins of water hazards and lateral water hazards – see Rule 33-2a. However, if the Committee has not done so, the ditch is, by definition, a lateral water hazard and the player should be permitted to proceed under Rule 26-1c(i).

26/3.5

Lateral Water Hazard Defined as Water Hazard

Q.A body of water which is both in front of and to the right of a putting green is so large that it is impossible to drop behind the water hazard as required by Rule 26-1b. May the Committee define the hazard or parts of the hazard as a water hazard even though it meets the Definition of a "Lateral Water Hazard"?

A.Yes – see Note 3 to the Definition of "Lateral Water Hazard." However, this should only be done when a Committee deems it necessary to preserve the integrity of the hole. In such cases the establishment of a dropping zone as an additional option under the water hazard Rule (Rule 26-1) may be justified.

26/4 (Reserved)

26/5 (Reserved)

26/6

Ball Assumed to Be in Water Hazard Found Outside Hazard After Another Ball Played Under Stroke-and-Distance Procedure

Q.A player assumes his original ball to be in a water hazard, despite the absence of knowledge or virtual certainty to that effect. Using the option in Rule 26-1a, he plays another ball at the spot from which the original ball was played. He then finds his original ball outside the hazard. What is the ruling?

A.The original ball is lost and the other ball is in play under penalty of stroke and distance – see Rule 27-1a and the Definition of "Lost Ball."

Related Decision:

15/11 Wrong Ball Hit Out of Bounds; Another Ball Played Under Rule 27-1; Original Ball Then Found Nearby.

BALL IN WATER HAZARD

26-1/1

Meaning of "Known or Virtually Certain"

When a ball has been struck towards a water hazard and cannot be found, a player may not assume that his ball is in the water hazard simply because there is a possibility that the ball may be in the water hazard. In order to proceed under Rule 26-1, it must be "known or virtually certain" that the ball is in the water hazard. In the absence of "knowledge or virtual certainty" that it lies in a water hazard, a ball that cannot be found must be considered lost somewhere other than in a water hazard and the player must proceed under Rule 27-1.

When a player's ball cannot be found, "knowledge" may be gained that his ball is in a water hazard in a number of ways. The player or his caddie or other members of his match or group may actually observe the ball disappear into the water hazard. Evidence provided by other reliable witnesses may also establish that the ball is in the water hazard. Such evidence could come from a referee, an observer, spectators or other outside agencies. It is important that all readily accessible information be considered because, for example, the mere fact that a ball has splashed in a water hazard would not always provide "knowledge" that the ball is in the water hazard, as there are instances when a ball may skip out of, and come to rest outside, the hazard.

In the absence of "knowledge" that the ball is in the water hazard, Rule 26-1 requires there to be "virtual certainty" that the player's ball is in the water hazard in order to proceed under this Rule. Unlike "knowledge," "virtual certainty" implies some small degree of doubt about the actual location of a ball that has not been found. However, "virtual certainty" also means that, although the ball has not been found, when all readily available information is considered, the conclusion that there is nowhere that the ball could be except in the water hazard would be justified.

In determining whether "virtual certainty" exists, some of the relevant factors in the area of the water hazard to be considered include topography, turf conditions, grass heights, visibility, weather conditions and the proximity of trees, bushes and abnormal ground conditions.

The same principles would apply for a ball that may have been moved by an outside agency (Rule 18-1) or a ball that has not been found and may be in an obstruction (Rule 24-3) or an abnormal ground condition (Rule 25-1c).

26-1/1.3

When is it Necessary to Go Forward to Establish "Virtual Certainty"?

Q.Rule 26-1 requires there to be "knowledge or virtual certainty" before proceeding under the provisions of the Rule. In the absence of "knowledge" that a ball is in a water hazard, is it possible to establish the existence of "virtual certainty" without going forward to assess the physical conditions around the water hazard?

A.In the majority of cases, in order for it to be reasonably concluded that the ball does not lie anywhere outside the water hazard, it is necessary to go forward to assess the physical conditions around the hazard. However, there are situations where there will be sufficient evidence that the ball is in the hazard to establish "virtual certainty" without anyone having to go forward to review the physical conditions around the hazard.

In the following examples, the conclusion that it is "virtually certain" that the ball is in the water hazard would be justified without anyone going forward to the water hazard so that the player would be entitled to proceed under the provisions of Rule 26-1.

• It is a clear day, with good visibility. A player's ball is struck towards a water hazard, which has closely-mown grass extending right up to its margin. The ball is observed to fall out of sight as it approaches the water hazard but is not seen actually to enter it. From a distance, it can be seen that there is no golf ball lying on the closely-mown grass outside the hazard and, from both prior experience and a reasonable evaluation of current course conditions, it is known that the contour of the ground surrounding the hazard causes balls to enter the hazard. In such circumstances, it is reasonable for the conclusion to be reached from a distance that the ball must be in the water hazard.

• It is a clear day, with good visibility. A player's ball is struck towards an island putting green. The margin of the water hazard coincides with the apron of the putting green. Both from prior experience and a reasonable evaluation of current course conditions, it is understood that any ball that comes to rest on the apron or the putting green will be visible from where the stroke was made. In this instance, the ball is observed to land on the putting green and roll out of sight. It is therefore concluded that the ball has carried over the green and into the water hazard. The player drops a ball in a dropping zone in front of the hazard, which has been provided by the Committee as an additional option to those under Rule 26-1, and plays to the green. When he arrives at the putting green, he discovers his original ball on the back apron of the green lying on a sunken sprinkler head. Nonetheless, in the circumstances, it was reasonable for the conclusion to be reached from where the ball was last played that the ball must be in the water hazard.

In the following example, it cannot be established that there is "virtual certainty" that the ball is in the water hazard without going forward to assess the area surrounding the hazard.

• It is a clear day, with good visibility. A player's ball is struck towards a water hazard, which has closely-mown grass extending right up to its margin. The ball is observed traveling in the direction of the water hazard and it is known from prior experience that, with normal turf conditions, the ball would undoubtedly go into the water hazard. However, on this day, the fairways are wet and therefore it is possible that the ball could have embedded in the fairway and thus might not be in the water hazard.

Decision related to 26-1/1 and 26-1/1.3:

27-2a/3 Play of Provisional Ball in Absence of Reasonable Possibility Original Ball Is Lost or Out of Bounds.

26-1/1.5

Meaning of "Behind" in Rule 26-1

Q.With regard to the diagram, a player makes a stroke from the tee and his ball comes to rest in the water hazard at Point A, having last crossed the margin of the hazard at Point B. The player wishes to proceed under Rule 26-1b, which requires that the player drop a ball behind the water hazard, keeping the point at which the original ball last crossed the margin of the water hazard directly between the hole and the spot on which the ball is dropped. May the player drop a ball on dotted line Y–Y?

A.Yes. The reference to "behind" in Rule 26-1b means that the ball must be dropped outside the hazard behind the point where the ball last crossed the margin of the water hazard. Therefore, the player may drop a ball on either dotted line X–X or dotted line Y–Y.

26-1/2

Player Proceeding Under Water Hazard Rule Drops Ball in Another Hazard

Q.A player's ball lies in a water hazard. In applying Rule 26-1b, the player drops a ball in a bunker or another water hazard. Is this permissible?

A.Yes.

Related Decision:

28/4.5 Ball Deemed Unplayable Through the Green Dropped in Water Hazard; Player Elects Not to Play Ball and Wishes to Proceed Under the Water Hazard Rule.

26-1/3

Ball Played Under Water Hazard Rule; Original Ball Then Found Outside Hazard

Q.A player believed his original ball had come to rest in a water hazard. He searched for about a minute but did not find his ball. He therefore dropped another ball behind the hazard under Rule 26-1 and played it. He then found his original ball outside the hazard within five minutes of having begun to search for it. What is the ruling?

A.When the player dropped and played another ball behind the hazard, it became the ball in play and the original ball was lost.

If it was known or virtually certain that the original ball was in the water hazard, the player was entitled to invoke Rule 26-1. In the absence of knowledge or virtual certainty that the original ball was in the water hazard, the player was required to put another ball into play under Rule 27-1. In playing the ball dropped under Rule 26-1, the player played from a wrong place.

In match play, he incurred a penalty of loss of hole (Rule 20-7b).

In stroke play, he incurred the stroke-and-distance penalty prescribed by Rule 27-1 and an additional penalty of two strokes for a breach of that Rule (Rule 20-7c). If the breach was a serious one, he was subject to disqualification unless he corrected the error as provided in Rule 20-7c.

26-1/3.5

Ball Dropped Under Water Hazard Rule with Knowledge or Virtual Certainty; Original Ball Then Found

Q.A player's ball is struck towards a water hazard. It is known or virtually certain that the player's ball is in the water hazard, and he drops a ball under Rule 26-1b. Before he plays the dropped ball, his original ball is found within the five-minute search period. What is the ruling?

A.As it was known or virtually certain that the ball was in the water hazard when the player put the substituted ball into play, that ball was correctly substituted and he may not play the original ball.

If the original ball was found in the water hazard and this discovery affects the reference point for proceeding under Rule 26-1b, resulting in the substituted ball having been dropped in a wrong place, the player must correct the error under Rule 20-6. The player must proceed in accordance with any of the applicable options under Rule 26-1 with respect to the correct reference point (see Decisions 20-6/2 and 26-1/16). Otherwise, Rule 20-6 does not apply and the player must continue play with the dropped ball. In either case, the player incurs a penalty of one stroke under Rule 26-1.

In the unlikely event that the original ball was found outside the water hazard, the player must continue with the dropped ball under penalty of one stroke (Rule 26-1).

Related Decision:

25-1c/2.5 Ball Dropped Under Rule 25-1c with Knowledge or Virtual Certainty That Ball Is In Casual Water; Original Ball Then Found.

26-1/3.7

Ball Dropped Under Water Hazard Rule Without It Being Known or Virtually Certain Ball in Hazard; Original Ball Then Found

Q.A player's ball is struck towards a water hazard and is not found. It is neither known nor virtually certain that the player's ball is in the water hazard, but he drops a ball under Rule 26-1b. Before he plays the dropped ball, his original ball is found within the five-minute search period. What is the ruling?

A.It was neither known nor virtually certain that the player's ball was in the water hazard when he put the substituted ball into play, and, therefore, that ball was incorrectly substituted under an inapplicable Rule.

The player must correct his error under Rule 20-6 by abandoning the substituted ball and continuing play with the original ball. If the original ball was found inside the water hazard, the player may proceed under Rule 26-1.

If the player failed to correct his improper procedure and played the dropped ball, he has proceeded under an inapplicable Rule and incurred a penalty (see Decision 34-3/6). The ruling would be that the player has proceeded under Rule 27-1 (the only Rule that applied to his situation), incurring the one-stroke penalty under that Rule. Additionally, as he played the ball from a wrong place (i.e., a place not permitted by Rule 27-1), he incurred the general penalty, loss of hole in match play or two strokes in stroke play, for a breach of Rule 27-1. In stroke play, the Committee must determine whether the player committed a serious breach when he played from the wrong place (Rule 20-7c).

26-1/4

Ball Played Under Water Hazard Rule Without Knowledge or Virtual Certainty That Original Ball in Hazard; Original Ball Then Found in Hazard

Q.A player's ball carried over a water hazard into some trees. It could not be determined whether the ball bounced back into the hazard or came to rest in the trees. Therefore, it was neither known nor virtually certain that the ball was in the hazard.

The player did not search for his original ball. He assumed that it was in the hazard, dropped a ball behind the hazard at a spot that conformed to Rule 26-1b and played that ball onto the green. As he was walking to the green, he found his original ball in the hazard. What is the ruling?

A.The first paragraph of Rule 26-1 states in part: "In the absence of knowledge or virtual certainty that a ball struck towards a water hazard, but not found, is in the hazard, the player must proceed under Rule 27-1." Therefore, the player was not entitled to assume that his original ball was in the hazard and the fact that it was subsequently found in the hazard is irrelevant. When the player dropped and played another ball behind the hazard, it became the ball in play and the original ball was lost. The player was required to proceed under Rule 27-1. In playing the ball dropped under Rule 26-1b, he played from a wrong place.

In match play, he incurred a penalty of loss of hole (Rule 20-7b).

In stroke play, he incurred the stroke-and-distance penalty prescribed by Rule 27-1 and an additional penalty of two strokes for a breach of that Rule (Rule 20-7c). If the breach was a serious one, he was subject to disqualification unless he corrected the error as provided in Rule 20-7c.

26-1/5

Ball Dropped and Played Under Water Hazard Rule; Original Ball Then Found in Hazard and Holed Out as Second Ball

Q.In stroke play, a competitor, unable to find his ball in a water hazard, drops another ball behind the hazard under Rule 26-1 and plays it. He then finds his original ball in the hazard. Not being sure of his rights, he holes out with both balls under Rule 3-3, opting to score with the original ball. What is the ruling?

A.When the competitor dropped and played the ball behind the hazard, that ball became the ball in play (see Definition of "Ball in Play"). The score with that ball was the competitor's score for the hole. The score with the original ball could not count because that ball was no longer the ball in play. However, the competitor incurs no penalty for holing out with the original ball.

Related Decision:

3-3/6 Competitor Plays Original Ball After Doubtful Situation Has Arisen and Then Invokes Rule 3-3.

26-1/6

Ball Played Back into Water Hazard from Putting Green Side of Hazard

Q.A player plays his second shot over a water hazard into a bunker behind the green. He hits his third shot too hard and the ball comes to rest in the water hazard. The ball is not playable. What are the player's options?

A.The player may, under penalty of one stroke:

(a) drop a ball behind the water hazard, keeping the point at which the original ball last crossed the hazard margin between the hole and the spot on which the ball is dropped – Rule 26-1b. This procedure would probably make it necessary for the player to return to the tee side of the hazard and play over the hazard again; or

(b) drop a ball in the bunker at the spot where his second shot came to rest – Rule 26-1a. (Revised)

26-1/7

Ball Moved Out of Bounds by Flow of Water in Water Hazard

Q.The flow of water in a water hazard carries a ball out of bounds. May the player invoke Rule 26-1?

A.No. Since the ball lies out of bounds, the player must proceed under Rule 27-1. Water is not an outside agency – see Definition of "Outside Agency" – and thus the ball would not be replaced under Rule 18-1.

In a situation where it is likely that a ball will be carried out of bounds by the flow of water in a water hazard, it is suggested that a screen be installed to prevent such an occurrence.

26-1/8

Ball Moved into Bounds by Flow of Water in Lateral Water Hazard

Q.With regard to the diagram, a player's ball lands in a river out of bounds at Point A and the flow of the water carries the ball into bounds to Point B. That part of the river which is in bounds is defined as a lateral water hazard. May the player invoke Rule 26-1?

A.Yes. The ball lies on the course in a lateral water hazard and it last crossed the margin of the hazard at Point C. Therefore, in taking relief in accordance with Rule 26-1b or 26-1c, Point C is the reference point. As it is not possible to proceed under Rules 26-1b and 26-1c(i), it is likely that the player will proceed under Rule 26-1c(ii) by dropping a ball within two club-lengths of and not nearer the hole than Point D.

Alternatively, the player may proceed under Rule 26-1a, or play the ball as it lies in the river.

26-1/9

Caddie Lifts Ball in Water Hazard Without Player's Authority

Q.A player's ball lying in a water hazard is lifted by the player's caddie without the player's authority. What is the ruling?

A.There is no penalty under Rule 18-2a if there was no doubt or it was reasonable to assume from the player's actions or statements that he would make his next stroke from outside the water hazard.

In the absence of such circumstances, the player incurred a one-stroke penalty under Rule 18-2a and may either replace the ball as required by Rule 18-2a or proceed under Rule 26-1 and incur an additional one-stroke penalty under that Rule.

In such cases, any doubt should be resolved against the player.

Related Decisions:

2-4/3.5 Stroke Conceded by Caddie.

18-2a/14 Caddie on Own Initiative Lifts Ball for Identification.

18-2a/15 Caddie on Own Initiative Lifts Ball Considering It Unplayable.

34-3/3.5 Player Lifts Ball Without Authority Due to Misunderstanding Referee's Instructions.

26-1/10

Placing Ball on Bank of Water Hazard Instead of Dropping to Prevent Ball Rolling into Water

Q.A player's ball lies in a playable position on the bank of a water hazard. The player hits the ball out of bounds. If he proceeds under Rule 27-1 and drops a ball on the bank as nearly as possible at the spot from which the original ball was played, the ball will be likely to roll into deep water. May he place the ball in such circumstances, rather than drop it?

A.No. However, the player is not obliged to drop a ball within the hazard in accordance with Rule 27-1. He may take the penalty stroke provided in Rule 27-1 and then, under an additional penalty of one stroke, put a ball into play outside the hazard in accordance with either Rule 26-2b(ii) or 26-2b(iii).

BALL IN LATERAL WATER HAZARD

26-1/11

Water Hazard Treated as Lateral Water Hazard

Q.In stroke play, a competitor played a stroke over a water hazard and the ball spun back into the hazard. The competitor, in error, treated the hazard as a lateral water hazard and dropped the ball under Rule 26-1c(i) within two club-lengths of where it crossed the hazard margin when it spun back into the hazard. He played the ball onto the green and then his procedure was questioned. What is the ruling?

A.The competitor incurred a penalty of one stroke under Rule 26-1. Furthermore, he was guilty of a serious breach of that Rule. He must, under an additional penalty of two strokes, rectify the error as provided in the second paragraph of Rule 20-7c or be disqualified.

26-1/12

Hazard Marked as Water Hazard Where Ball Last Crosses Margin and as Lateral Hazard Where Ball Comes to Rest

Q.A body of water is defined in part as a water hazard and in part as a lateral water hazard. A ball last crosses the hazard margin at a spot where it is marked as a water hazard but it comes to rest in that part of the hazard marked as a lateral water hazard. In addition to playing the ball as it lies, what are the player's options?

A.Since the ball last crossed the margin of the hazard where it is defined as a water hazard, the options in Rule 26-1c are not available. Thus, the player is limited to the options in Rules 26-1a and 26-1b.

26-1/13

Opposite Side of Lateral Water Hazard Defined as Water Hazard

Q.A player hit a ball into a lateral water hazard. The player wanted to drop within two club-lengths of a point on the opposite margin of the hazard equidistant from the hole, as permitted under Rule 26-1c. However, the opposite margin was marked as a water hazard. Was the player entitled to drop a ball within two club-lengths of the point in question on the opposite margin?

A.Yes. In such a case, relief is determined according to the status of the hazard at the point where the ball last crossed the hazard margin.

26-1/14

Clarification of "Opposite Margin" in Rule 26-1c(ii)

Q.Please clarify the words "opposite margin" in Rule 26-1c. With regard to the diagram, "X1" indicates where a ball in the hazard last crossed the hazard margin. May the player drop a ball within two club-lengths of "Y1"? And, may a player whose ball last crossed the hazard margin at "X2" drop a ball within two club-lengths of "Y2," and so on?

A.With respect to "X1," "Y1" is "a point on the opposite margin of the water hazard equidistant from the hole." Accordingly, the player would be entitled to drop a ball within two club-lengths of "Y1."

The same applies in the cases of "X3"–"Y3" and "X4"–"Y4," but not in the case of "X2"–"Y2." A "point on the opposite margin" is a point across the hazard from "the point where the original ball last crossed the margin of the hazard." "Y2" is not across the hazard from "X2" because an imaginary straight line from "X2" to "Y2" crosses land outside the hazard.

26-1/15

Procedures for Relief from Lateral Water Hazard

In the diagram, a player has played a ball from the teeing ground (Point A) into the lateral water hazard at Point B. It last crossed the margin of the hazard at Point C. He may play the ball as it lies or, under penalty of one stroke:

(a) play another ball from the teeing ground – Rule 26-1a;

(b) drop a ball anywhere on the far side of the hazard on the dotted line from the hole through Point C, e.g., Point D – Rule 26-1b;

(c) drop a ball in the shaded area on the near side of the hazard which is all ground within two club-lengths of Point C, but not nearer the hole than Point C – Rule 26-1c(i); or

(d) drop a ball in the shaded area on the far side of the hazard which is all ground within two club-lengths of Point E, but not nearer the hole than Point E – Rule 26-1c(ii).

The player may not drop a ball on the so-called "line-of-flight" at Point F or anywhere else on the line the ball followed from A to B, except in the shaded area on the near side. Nor may he drop a ball within two club-lengths of Point G, the point on the far side of the hazard directly opposite Point C.

26-1/16

Point Where Ball Last Crossed Margin of Lateral Water Hazard Determined and Ball Dropped; Point Then Proves to Be Wrong Point

Q.In stroke play, A's ball goes into a lateral water hazard and is not found. A uses his best judgment in determining the point where the ball last crossed the hazard margin. B, A's marker and a fellow-competitor, agrees with that judgment and A drops a ball in accordance with Rule 26-1c, using the agreed point on the margin as the reference point. Before A makes his next stroke, C, another fellow-competitor, says that A's ball last crossed the hazard margin 20 yards beyond the point judged by A to be the point where the ball last crossed. A's ball is then found where C said it would be. What is the ruling?

A.When A dropped the ball under Rule 26-1, it was known or virtually certain that his original ball lay in the lateral water hazard. Therefore, Rule 26-1 was the applicable Rule and the player proceeded correctly in that he was permitted to put a ball into play under that Rule. However, as he dropped his ball in a wrong place, A must correct the error under Rule 20-6. He must proceed in accordance with any of the applicable options under Rule 26-1 with respect to the correct reference point (see Decision 20-6/2). A is precluded from playing the original ball from the hazard.

Other Decisions related to whether a player may change a selected relief option after taking further action: See "Ball Dropped or Re-Dropped: changing relief option" in the Index.

26-1/17

Point Where Ball Last Crossed Margin of Lateral Water Hazard Determined and Ball Dropped and Played; Point Then Proves to Be Wrong Point

Q.In the circumstances described in Decision 26-1/16, where it becomes known that A's judgment of where his ball last crossed the margin of a lateral water hazard is incorrect, what is the ruling if A, having dropped a ball in the wrong place, plays it before his error is discovered?

A.A must continue play with the ball played from the wrong place, without penalty. Applying a penalty under Rule 26-1 for playing from the wrong place (see Rule 20-7) is not appropriate. Otherwise, a competitor would risk incurring a penalty every time he makes an honest judgment as to the point where his ball last crosses a water hazard margin and that judgment subsequently proves incorrect. (Revised)

26-1/18

Impossible to Drop Not Nearer Hole Than Point Where Ball Last Crossed Margin of Lateral Water Hazard

Q.When a ball last crosses the margin of a lateral water hazard at the side of a putting green, it is sometimes impossible to drop a ball within two club-lengths of the point where the ball last crossed the hazard margin without dropping nearer the hole than that point. What is the procedure in such a case?

A.It is usually possible to drop a ball on the near side of a lateral water hazard and conform with Rule 26-1c(i) by dropping the ball close to the hazard margin. Where this is impossible, the player must proceed under one of the other options provided in Rule 26-1.

26-1/19

Permissible Dropping Area Under Lateral Water Hazard Rule So Narrow Player Has Difficulty Dropping Within It

When a ball comes to rest in a lateral water hazard and relief is taken under Rule 26-1c(i), the ball must be dropped (1) outside the hazard and (2) not nearer the hole than the point where the ball last crossed the margin of the hazard (Point X). In some circumstances, the permissible dropping area may be very narrow. If the ball, when dropped, first strikes a part of the course in the hazard or nearer the hole than Point X, the drop does not count for the purpose of determining when the ball must be placed under Rule 20-2c. A ball so dropped has been dropped in a wrong place and the player must correct the error under Rule 20-6 by proceeding in accordance with any of his options under Rule 26-1 (see Decision 20-6/2). Only if the ball has been dropped in the permissible dropping area twice and, each time, rolls and comes to rest in a position listed under Rule 20-2c (e.g., into the hazard or nearer the hole than Point X) may it be placed as permitted by Rule 20-2c. If a ball is placed other than as described, and is played, a breach of Rule 26-1c occurs.

Stakes and lines defining the margins of water hazards should be placed along the natural limits of the hazard. However, minor deviation to alleviate such a dropping problem would be appropriate. Alternatively, a dropping zone could be established.

Decisions related to 26-1/18 and 26-1/19:

26/2 Ball Within Natural Margin of Water Hazard But Outside Stakes Defining Margin.

33-2a/4 Where to Place Lines or Stakes Defining Margin of Water Hazard.

33-2a/9 Part of Lateral Water Hazard Where Impossible to Drop Not Nearer Hole.

26-1/20

Allowing Drop Opposite Spot Where Ball Comes to Rest in Lateral Water Hazard

Q.A lateral water hazard is so situated that it is difficult to determine where a ball lying in the hazard last crossed the hazard margin. Would it be permissible to make a Local Rule to the effect that a player whose ball lies in this hazard may drop a ball, under penalty of one stroke, within two club-lengths of the point on the hazard margin opposite where the original ball came to rest in the hazard, instead of within two club-lengths of where the original ball last crossed the hazard margin, i.e., the Local Rule would modify Rule 26-1c.

A.No. Such modification of Rule 26-1c is not authorized. Moreover, the suggested Local Rule would be inoperable if the player's ball was lost in the hazard.

26-1/21

Example of Serious Breach of Lateral Water Hazard Rule

Q.In stroke play, A and B drive into a lateral water hazard. They determine where their original balls last crossed the hazard margin and elect to proceed under Rule 26-1c, taking a penalty of one stroke. A drops a ball slightly closer to the hole than the spot where his ball last crossed the hazard margin; B drops a ball 50 yards closer to the hole. A and B make their next strokes. What is the ruling?

A.A incurs an additional penalty of two strokes for a breach of Rule 26-1c and must play out the hole with the ball dropped in a wrong place and played – see Rule 20-7c.

B is guilty of a serious breach of Rule 26-1c. He incurs an additional penalty of two strokes and, before playing from the next teeing ground, he must drop another ball in accordance with any of his options under Rule 26-1 (see Decision 20-6/2) and play out the hole; otherwise B is disqualified – see Rule 20-7c.

26-2/1

Explanation of Options Under Rules 26-2a and 26-2b

Regarding the diagram, A and B play from the tee. A's ball comes to rest in the water hazard at Point A. B's ball comes to rest at Point B. Both A and B elect to play from the hazard. A fails to get out of the hazard. He plays to Point X, and his ball is not playable. B plays to Point Y, which is out of bounds.

Under penalty of one stroke, A may:

(a) drop a ball at Point A and play again from there, playing 4 (Rule 26-2a(i)); or

(b) drop a ball anywhere on dotted line E–E and play from there, playing 4 (Rule 26-2a(ii)); or

(c) play another ball from the tee, playing 4 (Rule 26-2a(iii)).

If A drops a ball at Point A and the ball comes to rest at a spot from which he judges he cannot play, he may, adding an additional penalty of one stroke, either drop a ball anywhere on the dotted line E–E or play another ball from the tee, playing 5.

B, after taking the penalty stroke prescribed in Rule 27-1, may drop a ball at Point B and play again from there, playing 4 (Rule 26-2b(i)).

Alternatively, B, after taking the penalty stroke prescribed in Rule 27-1, may drop a ball at Point B and elect not to play that ball or elect not to drop a ball at Point B. In either case, he shall then:

(a) under an additional penalty of one stroke, drop a ball anywhere on dotted line F–F and play from there, playing 5 (Rule 26-2b(ii)); or

(b) under an additional penalty of one stroke, play another ball from the tee, playing 5 (Rule 26-2b(iii)).

26-2/2

Ball Played from Within Hazard Comes to Rest in Same Hazard After Exiting Hazard

Q.In the diagram, a player has played a ball from Point A (the teeing ground) into the lateral water hazard at Point B. The ball last crossed the margin of the hazard at Point C.

The player elects to play the ball from the hazard and he succeeds in getting his ball out of the hazard, but it re-enters the hazard at Point E. The ball comes to rest at Point D and it is not playable. What are the player's options?

A.The player may under penalty of one stroke:

(a) drop a ball at Point B and play again from there, playing 4 (Rule 26-2a(i)); or

(b) drop a ball anywhere on dotted line E–G and play from there, playing 4 (Rule 26-2a(ii)); or

(c) drop a ball within two club-lengths of and not nearer the hole than Point E, playing 4 (Rule 26-2a(ii)); or

(d) drop a ball within two club-lengths of and not nearer the hole than Point F, playing 4 (Rule 26-2a(ii)); or

(e) play another ball from Point A (the teeing ground), playing 4 (Rule 26-2a(iii)).

Point E is the reference point for proceeding under Rule 26-1b or 26-1c as it is the point where the original ball last crossed the margin of the water hazard.

If the player drops a ball at Point B and the ball comes to rest at a spot from which he judges he cannot play, he may, adding an additional penalty of one stroke, either drop a ball anywhere on the dotted line E–G, drop a ball within two club-lengths of and not nearer the hole than Points E or F, or play another ball from Point A (the teeing ground), playing 5.

Rules

Decisions

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