We as golfers do our best to avoid water hazards at all cost when we’re out on the course, but the fact is everyone, even the professionals, ends up in a hazard every now and then. For courses stuffed with water hazards hiding around each corner, these obstructions can become increasingly more frustrating to deal with and harder to avoid.
It’s especially important when playing a course with a lot of water that you understand the water hazard rules, which dictate where your ball should end up and what happens to your score after you’ve hit into a water hazard or lateral water hazard. Water hazard rules are easy to understand, but most golfers feel nervous making a decision about where to drop and how many strokes to add.
Water hazard rules: where and when to drop
To clear up the confusion on hazards, Mark Wilson of the PGA Rules Committee discusses the essential water hazard rules you should be aware of so you can learn to make the right decision when you or a playing partner has a run in with a water hazard.
Mark begins by discussing some of the common situations golfers find themselves in in relation to water hazard rules. He helps you figure out what happens when your ball comes in contact with either a stake or a red or yellow line, then talks you through a scenario where your ball settles on a bridge or other object located vertically within a hazard.
Your two choices, as determined by water hazard rules
Once you’ve decided that your ball is without a doubt in a water hazard, you usually have two options for dropping your ball. In most situations, your choice should be fairly obvious after assessing your available lies and paths to the green. However, there are also a few instances on the course where your decision might be a little less clear, so Mark talks you through the thought process you should adopt to handle these outliers.
Memorize the water hazard rules Mark introduces, and you’ll have no problem deciding what to do the next time you end up near a hazard!