Tuesday, March 17, 2015
Ask Linda #1019-Where do I drop?
Hi Linda...playing a short par 4 hole, I drove my ball into a bunker directly in front of the green. I proceeded to hit my wedge shot over the green and into a lake (yellow-staked hazard). There are perhaps 10 yards from the far edge of the green to the lake. What are my options for a ball drop? Do I have to hit from the bunker again, or can I drop in the area between the green and the lake?
Lou from Sarnia, Ontario
Rule 26-1 provides two relief options for a ball in a water hazard: stroke and distance (which would mean a drop in the bunker), or behind the hazard on the line-of-sight to the hole.
Since the hazard is marked with yellow stakes, practically speaking there is only one relief option for you (drop in the bunker). Unless the lake is miniscule, it is unlikely that you’re going to want to drop a ball behind it. The Rules do not permit a drop on the green side of a hazard; you may not drop on the ten-yard-wide stretch of land behind the green.
However, the Rules prefer that you have two relief options for a water hazard. Accordingly, the course might want to consult the USGA (or R&A) to see if it would be permissible to mark the side of the lake directly behind the green with red stakes. If such permission were granted, and players were unable to find relief within two club-lengths of where their ball last crossed the margin of the hazard that is no closer to the hole, the Committee could establish one or more dropping zones [Rule 33-2a/9].
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