Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Ask Linda #1752-Declare ball unplayable in water hazard

There seems to be conflicting information or just a matter of semantics involving a ball landing in a lateral water hazard, and declaring a ball unplayable.

Rule 28 - Unplayable states: The player may deem his ball unplayable at any place on the course, except when the ball is in a water hazard. The player is the sole judge as to whether his ball is unplayable.

The player in our foursome declared her ball unplayable because it landed in a lateral water hazard just to the right of the tee.

I said she could not declare the ball unplayable, per Rule 28b, because it landed in a water hazard. Well she re-teed the ball anyway, which I came to find out with further research she was right.

If a ball lands in a lateral water hazard, the player always has the right to re-tee her ball.

So when Rule 28 states except water hazards do they meaning water hazards marked with yellow stakes as opposed to red stakes?

Or does it mean that if your ball lands in a water hazard one follows the directions stated in Rule 26 - Water Hazards?

I hope my question is clear. Thanks for your response in advance.

Lulu from Burbank, California

Dear Lulu,

A player may not declare her ball “unplayable” in any water hazard, both regular and lateral (yellow stakes and red stakes) [Rule 28]. A lateral water hazard is, by Definition, a water hazard.

The relief options for a ball in a water hazard are not identical to the relief options for an unplayable ball. For example, a player whose ball lies in a water hazard may not drop a ball within two club-lengths of where the ball lies in the hazard, which is a relief option for an unplayable ball.

The stroke-and-distance relief option is available both for unplayable balls and for balls in water hazards. In fact, a player may play a ball under “stroke and distance” at any time, regardless of where her ball lies.

The player is not penalized for mistakenly calling her ball in the hazard unplayable, since the relief option she chose is available for a ball in a hazard.

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