“From the Water Hazard, I Hit It Further Into the Hazard”

This is one of the least understood Rules and considered to be one of the more complex – Rule 26-2a.

What happens when I find my ball in a water hazard and consider playing it as it lies?

You still will have all of the available options available to you from the Water Hazard Rule (Rule 26) under penalty of one stroke if you would like to drop out. However, if you feel confident, you can have a go ahead and whack away.

Just remember two things:

  1. Where did you last play from outside the water hazard, and
  2. Where did the ball last cross the margin of the water hazard

So go ahead now and hit it. If you make it out, good shot. But what happens if you hit it further into the hazard and don’t get it out? Here are your options:

  1. Play it as it lies and try to hit it out again – no penalty, or
  2. Stroke and distance, drop a ball back in the hazard from where you just played – one penalty stroke, or
  3. Drop a ball outside the hazard at the spot from where you made your last stroke outside of the hazard (see item A above) – one penalty stroke, or
  4. Drop a ball outside the hazard keeping the spot where the ball last crossed the margin of either a water hazard or lateral water hazard  (see item B above) between you and the flagstick going back as far as you would like – one penalty stroke, or
  5. Drop a ball outside the hazard, no nearer the hole, within two club-lengths of where the ball last crossed the margin of a lateral water hazard (see item B above) or within two club-lengths of a spot equidistant on the opposite margin of where the ball last crossed the margin of a lateral hazard (see item B above) – one penalty stroke

The reason this Rule even exists is that a player is not allowed to use the Unplayable Ball Rule (Rule 28) when his ball is in a water hazard. Consider that if my ball were in a water hazard and as a result of stroke, I drove it straight down into the mud. Then what options would I have? Basically, none and I would be done playing golf for that day and not able to finish my round.

In essence, this Rule allows you to go into a water hazard and play as many strokes as you would like. Just remember you always have the option to get out of the hazard using the two reference spots; they never go away until you get out of that hazard. Each time you hit it further into the hazard, you start back at the top of the list with option #1.

Remember, it pays to know the Rules. Knowing the Rules of Golf can help you save strokes and enjoy the game of golf.

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