Monday, March 17, 2014

Ask Linda #811-Ball in unmarked hazard

Hi Linda
Just a question about water hazards.
A drainage is considered to be a water hazard but the borders are not marked. Last week we had a nice shower on the course and some temporary water was left and right. After a drive, player A's ball was in temporary water on the course and had a free drop. A bit further player B also found the ball in temporary water but obviously this water was a drainage ditch. Player B took a free drop because the borders of the drainage were not marked and he decided that his ball was not in the hazard.

To stay in the context: How to be sure to be allowed to remove a loose impediment lying close to or in the drainage ditch when the borders are not marked?

What about the rules?

Thanks for your advice.
Lou from Belgium

Dear Lou,

Regardless of whether the ditch is marked, it is still, by definition, a water hazard. In deciding whether your ball lies in an unmarked hazard, you should seek out the area where the ground breaks down to form the compression that may or may not contain water. That area is where the Committee would place stakes or lines if it were doing its job properly.

You are not exempt from treating the ditch as a water hazard simply because it has not been marked. If you are doubtful, you may play two balls under Rule 3-3 in stroke play. (In match play, you and your opponent have to agree on whether your ball lies in the hazard and proceed accordingly. If there is no agreement, you should proceed as per your assessment; your opponent may file a claim if he disagrees.)

If you reach the conclusion that your ball is in the ditch, you may not touch or move loose impediments [Rule 13-4c].

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