Rules: Hitting out of water hazards

MOST of us have tried the miracle shot from a water hazard but there are some rules to remember in this situation.

 IF a ball lies in water in a water hazard, most golfers would be advised to take their punishment and take relief under a penalty of one stroke.

However, I suspect that there are few of us who haven't tried to play that miracle shot from water, however rash it may have been at the time.

For this reason, I am listing the do’s and don’ts when you are faced with this circumstance.

THE don’ts:

•    Don’t touch the ground in the hazard with your club, or you will probably incur a penalty (there are exceptions, such as to prevent yourself from falling over).

•    Don’t touch the water with your club, even on the backswing.

•    Don’t touch or move any loose impediments in the hazard, such as moving pebbles in the hazard with your feet whilst taking a firm stance.

•    Don’t move a loose impediment on your backswing (e.g. Brian Davis’s breach when he moved a dead palm frond on his backswing in a one-hole playoff against Jim Furyk at the PGA Tour's 2010 Verizon Heritage event).

•    Don’t wash your club in the water if your ball is still in the hazard after you have made your stroke.

•    Don’t forget that you may still drop outside the hazard for a penalty of one stroke under Rule 26-2.


the Do’s (or, more accurately, May’s):

 •    You may use your club to stop falling (Exception 1a to Rule 13-4).

 •    You may take more than one club in the bunker (Exception 1b to Rule 13-4).

 •    You may touch anything growing in the hazard with practice swings or your backswing (Note to Rule 13-4).

•    You may remove any movable obstruction from the hazard, such as a tin can (Rule 24-1).

•    You may search for a ball in water in a water hazard by probing with a club and there is no penalty if you cause it to move while doing so, but the ball must be replaced (Rule 12-1c).

•    You may play a ball that is moving in water, but don't wait for it to move to a more advantageous position (Rule 14-6).




15 Barry Rhodes & Claret Jug

Barry is the author of ‘999 Updated Questions on the Rules of Golf' (including the January 2016 changes), and '999 More Questions on the Rules of Golf (newly published in January 2016).

He believes that these books provide the easiest and most enjoyable way to absorb and understand the Rules. Barry is an enthusiastic, high handicap golfer, resident in Dublin, Ireland, who developed an interest, then a fascination, and now an obsession with the Rules of Golf.

Barry’s relationship with the Rules began in 2000 with his participation in the inter-club Rules of Golf quiz competitions, organised by the Royal & Ancient for Golf Clubs in Great Britain and Ireland.

This then led to him writing articles, running quizzes, and delivering presentations on the Rules at a variety of golf clubs and corporate functions.

In March 2008, Barry became the first person to achieve a 100% correct mark on the public Advanced Rules of Golf Course examination, run by the PGA in their headquarters at The Belfry, West Midlands, UK, and in April 2015, Barry received a ‘Pass with Distinction’ in the R&A’s Level 3, Tournament Administrators and Referees School examination, the highest certification awarded.

Barry is author of the eBook, ‘999 Updated Questions on the Rules of Golf 2016’. To purchase the eBook, click here.

He writes a weekly web blog, containing interesting content for anyone who wishes to improve their knowledge and understanding of the Rules of Golf. To visit the blog, click here.

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