Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Ask Linda #99-Ball on bridge in hazard

Linda, what are my options when my ball is lying on a bridge that crosses over a water hazard?

Dear Lulu,
A bridge that crosses OVER a water hazard is actually IN the hazard, so any ball lying on such a bridge is considered to be in the hazard. As with any ball lying in a hazard, you may play it as it lies or take relief under Rule 26-1 (more on that in a minute).

If you choose to play the ball as it lies, you get a little break in that you are permitted to ground your club. This is because a bridge over a hazard is not considered to be ground in the hazard, but rather an obstruction in the hazard, since it is man-made [Decision 13-4/30]. While Rule 13-4 prohibits you from touching the ground in a hazard, the Note to that rule allows you to touch obstructions in a hazard.

If you choose to take relief outside the hazard, you incur the same penalty and have the same relief options as for any ball lying in a water hazard [Rule 26-1]. Add one penalty stroke to your score, and drop your ball:

1. on the spot where you last played your original ball (if it was your tee shot that went into the hazard, you may re-tee the ball); or
2. draw an imaginary straight line from the hole, through your ball, and beyond; drop your ball anywhere on this infinite line BEHIND the hazard (there is NO FREE TRANSPORTATION over a water hazard); or
3. if your ball is in a lateral hazard (red stakes or lines), you have the additional option of dropping the ball within two club-lengths and not nearer the hole of the point where your ball last crossed the hazard, or from a point the same distance from the hole on the opposite bank.

It can be fun to try to hit a ball off a bridge; that fun may be tempered by whether the bridge is made of stone or wood and how fond you are of the club you choose to play.


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