The Golf Life | RulesMarch 19, 2015

Splash Down

Test your knowledge of water hazards
  1. A tiny portion of your ball is touching a water-hazard margin. Is it in the hazard?

  2. If part of your ball is in a water hazard, can you ground your club behind the portion outside the hazard?

  3. Your shot slices into a creek defined as a lateral water hazard (with red stakes or lines). If you drop within two club-lengths of where your ball entered, trees will prevent a clear shot. But there’s nothing in the way on the opposite side of the hazard. Can you drop there?

  4. Heavy rain has raised the water level in a hazard to a point where it has extended past its margins. If your ball comes to rest in water outside of the margins, can you take relief without penalty?

  5. Your approach shot clears a water hazard (identified by yellow), lands on the green but rolls back into the hazard. Can you drop on the green side?

  6. If you hit into a water hazard, can you play a second ball as a provisional?

  7. Once you drop under one option of a water-hazard rule, may you pick up the ball without penalty and choose another option under Rule 26?

  8. If you make a stroke at your ball in a water hazard, but don’t hit it out, do you have further options besides playing it as it lies?

  9. Do you have to identify your ball in a water hazard to proceed under its rules?

  10. Your tee shot rolls into a nearly dry ditch that has no water-hazard markings. Do you get relief without penalty?


1. Yes. It’s in when any part touches it. (definitions)

2. Yes, but it’s a penalty if you ground your club in the hazard before making the stroke. (rule 13-4)

3. Yes. With a lateral hazard, you may find the point on the opposite margin of the hazard that is equidistant to the hole with the point where your ball entered. Then drop within two club-lengths of that point, no closer to the hole. (rule 26-1c)

4. Yes. This is casual water. (Rule 25-1b; decision 25/2)

5. No. Under a one-stroke penalty, you may drop on the side of the hazard from where you just hit, on a line drawn from the hole through that spot where the ball last entered the water hazard. Or you can simply replay the shot. (rule 26-1)

6. No. Any second ball would be considered in play under penalty of stroke and distance. (rules 27-1, 27-2; decision 27-2a/2)

7. No. Once a ball is dropped, it’s in play. You may change your option before dropping. (decisions 25-1b/9, 24-2b/5)

8. Yes. With a one-stroke penalty, you can proceed under any of the rule’s options available to you before you hit from the water hazard. (rule 26-2)

9. No. If you know or are virtually certain it’s in, proceed under water-hazard rules. Note: Just hearing or seeing a splash isn’t enough evidence. (decision 26-1/1)

10. No. A ditch is defined as a water hazard regardless of the depth of its water or whether it is marked as a hazard. (definitions, decision 26/3)