Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Ball Played within Water Hazard

Rule 26-2a: Ball played from A, within a water hazard, lands at B in the same water hazard

















It was pleasing for me to see Rory McIlroy put in a good performance at the WGC – HSBC Champions in Shanghai last week, finishing tied 6th, having led by 2 strokes after the opening round. He might have done even better had he not made what could have been a tactical error on the 18th hole of his second round, an incident that provides me with an opportunity to discuss a little known Rule of Golf that could help you in the future.

Rory’s tee shot on the 18th hole stopped just a yard from the lake on the right-side of the fairway, but inside the margin of a lateral water hazard, 228 yards from the hole. Instead of taking a relief by dropping outside of the hazard under penalty of one stroke (Rule 26-1), he decided to play the ball as it lay within the hazard. His ambitious attempt to reach the green in two came up short and his ball splashed into the water. Now, this is where many players might have been unsure of what options they have if a ball played from inside a water hazard, comes to rest inside the same hazard. To his credit, Rory obviously was familiar with Rule 26-2, as he took a penalty drop back on to the fairway, close to where his ball had last crossed the margin of the hazard, before the subsequent shot into the water. This drop gave him a distance of about 250 yards to the hole from a fairway lie and he hit a superb shot to within 15 feet, but missed the par putt and signed for a bogey 6 (1 – drive into the hazard, 2 – stroke into the water, 3 – penalty stroke for taking relief from the water hazard, 4 – stroke to the putting green, 5 & 6 – two putts to hole out).

The relevant point here is that Rule 26-2 affords players some relief after making a bad decision or stroke from within a water hazard. If a ball played from within the margin of a water hazard comes to rest within the same water or another water hazard, the player is entitled, under penalty of one stroke, to choose any of the options they had before making the stroke. For example, the player could drop a ball at the place from where their last stroke was made outside the hazard, or if it was a lateral water hazard, could drop a ball within two club-lengths of where their original ball last crossed the margin of the hazard (which was the option that Rory took). Rule 26-2a states;

Ball Comes to Rest in Same or Another Water Hazard
If a ball played from within a water hazard comes to rest in the same or another water hazard after the stroke, the player may:

(i) proceed under Rule 26-1a. If, after dropping in the hazard, the player elects not to play the dropped ball, he may:
(a) proceed under Rule 26-1b, or if applicable Rule 26-1c, adding the additional penalty of one stroke prescribed by the Rule and using as the reference point the point where the original ball last crossed the margin of this hazard before it came to rest in this hazard; or
(b) add an additional penalty of one stroke and play a ball as nearly as possible at the spot from which the last stroke from outside a water hazard was made (see Rule 20-5); or

(ii) proceed under Rule 26-1b, or if applicable Rule 26-1c; or

(iii)under penalty of one stroke, play a ball as nearly as possible at the spot from which the last stroke from outside a water hazard was made (see Rule 20-5).
Rule 26-2b covers what options are available when a ball played from within a water hazard is lost or deemed unplayable outside of the hazard, or is out of bounds. But that is for another day.

Good golfing,




'99 Tips on Using the Rules of Golf to Your Advantage'. Check out my downloadable eDocument at this link.

The above content is strictly copyright to Barry Rhodes © 2013 and may not be copied without permission.





8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Am I understanding this correctly? ...If Rory had dropped his ball in the hazard laying 3 (rule 26-1a), elected not to play it...dropped outside hazard laying 4 (is this where the additional penalty comes in?)...hit onto green and 2 putt for a 7?

Barry Rhodes said...

Anonymous,

Yes, you have understood it perfectly, had Rory dropped a ball within the hazard where he last played from and then changed his mind before playing his ball from where it came to rest. However, he did not drop the ball in the hazard; he chose to take relief under penalty of one stroke under outside the hazard, as permitted by Rule 26-2a . I recommend that you check out Decision 26-2/1 for a further explanation of the options under Rules 26-2a and 26-2b.

Barry

Anonymous said...

When dropping in a hazard, if the balls roles closer to the hole from where you last determined the ball was played, do you re-drop?

Barry Rhodes said...

Anonymous,

I don't understand your question. "if the balls roles closer to the hole from where you last determined the ball was played". This could be over 200 yards away!

I think that this part of Rule 20-2c(vii) may assist you to understand the principle;

(vii) rolls and comes to rest nearer the hole than:
(a) its original position or estimated position (see Rule 20-2b) unless otherwise permitted by the Rules; or
(b) the nearest point of relief or maximum available relief (Rule 24-2, 25-1 or 25-3); or
(c) the point where the original ball last crossed the margin of the water hazard or lateral water hazard (Rule 26-1).


Barry

Des Squire said...

If Rory's ball had crossed the water and landed on the opposite side of the dam, but on the grass still within the hazard would he still have been permitted to play the ball as it lay without grounding the club or would he have had to go back and drop on the opposite side of the hazard so that the water was between him and the hole?

Barry Rhodes said...

Des,

Yes, a player always has the option of playing their ball from within the margins of a water hazard, providing they do not ground their club while doing so.

Barry

Greg said...

In just wanting to clear up the query made by anonymous re Rory's strokes I am still in some doubt and perhaps you could clear this for me.
When you look at the pertinent rule you have quoted:
" (i) proceed under Rule 26-1a. If, after dropping in the hazard, the player elects not to play the dropped ball, he may:
(a) proceed under Rule 26-1b, or if applicable Rule 26-1c, adding the additional penalty of one stroke prescribed by the Rule "
I see that rule as saying the player must first drop his ball in the hazard under 26-1a ( it does mention " after dropping in the hazard " , and I expect a one shot penalty is applicable ) and then if the player then elects to proceed under 26 - 1b ( an additional penalty being mentioned and I expect it would only be additional if there was an initial penalty ).
That would have given Rory two shots, one penalty, then the additional one, a third shot plus the two putts for a score of seven.

I appreciate you are scoring hims as having a six because he elected not to drop in the hazard but the way I read the rules is that 26 - 1a is not offering that option.

Could you please advise further for we have a similar situation very often at our home course in the woods where lateral hazard territory is often found.
Thankyou









9 it does mention

Barry Rhodes said...

Greg,

But Rory proceeded under option (iii) of Rule 26-2a; you have only quoted from option (i). This is the relevant part of the Rule for his score of 6;

If a ball played from within a water hazard comes to rest in the same or another water hazard after the stroke, the player may: ....
...(iii) under penalty of one stroke, play a ball as nearly as possible at the spot from which the last stroke from outside a water hazard was made (see Rule 20-5).


Barry