Thursday, January 2, 2014

Ask Linda #769-Long lateral hazard

Dear Linda,

Ubolrat Dam Thailand golf course 7th hole: 

In front of the tee box, to the left, is a lake which is the full length of the fairway. At the end of the lake there is a dog leg sharp right. A 260-yard drive is required to reach the elbow for a shot into the green.

A ball from the tee was hit to the far side of the lake some 200 plus yards where the ball entered the water. That part of the lake has a long stretch of land to play a ball keeping the lake (hazard) in front of you and directly in line with the green some 250 yards away up a hill.

Can you play the ball from behind that part of the lake where the ball entered, keeping the lake (hazard) and a direct line into the green or flag (no drop zone),
Do you have to play it at point of entry which was probably a foot or two in front of the tee box as the water’s edge is at the end of the tee (Yes it had a red stake)?

I ask? by keeping the lake as the hazard the penalty is still a stroke, but playing keeping the lake/hazard in line with the flag is an option you can take possibly??? By hitting it from the tee again…it would take 3 shots, hitting 4 from the elbow to the green, whereas from a drop from behind that part of the lake it would be possible with a 250-yard shot to reach the green over the lake in 3…would that be deemed fair? or cheating?

I know I may be clutching at straws. It just seems unfair to play from the tee box again without other options – it seems you are penalised twice.
Hope that makes sense

Kind Regards,
Lou from Thailand

Dear Lou,

There is no getting around the fact that relief from a water hazard is based on where your ball last crossed the margin of the hazard. It makes no difference whether you hit a little dribbler off the tee or a towering drive that splashes into the lake some 200 yards away. If the ball last crossed the margin two yards in front of the tee box, that is your point of reference.

You have two viable options, only one of which is sensible [Rule 26-1]. You may drop a ball within two club-lengths of the margin of the hazard, no closer to the hole, or you may re-tee. Considering that the ball entered the hazard at a point right in front of the tee, the better choice will be to re-tee. Your second tee shot is your third shot on the hole.

Moving up 200 yards and dropping behind the lake on the line-of-sight to the hole is neither "fair" nor "cheating" – it is simply against the Rules. If you play a ball from a wrong place you lose the hole in match play. In stroke play, the penalty is two strokes. In addition, if you gain a significant advantage (200 yards would be deemed “significant”), you will most likely be disqualified [Rule 20-7].

If your ball were to travel in the air over dry land and last cross the margin of the hazard 200 yards away, you would have the relief option that you suggested in your question (drop on the far side of the lake on the line-of-sight to the hole). This option is not available in your scenario.

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