WEEK 13 — WATER HAZARDS: PART TWO - PERMITTED ACTIONS
Steve, John and David arrive at the first teeing ground for their weekly stroke-play competition. The opening hole has a water hazard marked with yellow lines and stakes crossing the fairway approximately 230 yards from the teeing ground. There is also a lateral water hazard marked with red lines and stakes to the left of the fairway.
Steve's drive comes to rest on the bridge which crosses the water hazard. John's drive comes to rest against one of the yellow hazards stakes on the line defining the water hazard, while David hooks his drive into the lateral water hazard to the left
Since John's ball is touching the stake and the stake is on the hazard line, his ball is in the hazard. John removes the stake, a movable obstruction, and his ball moves. Since the movement of the ball was directly attributable to the removal of the stake, John must replace the ball under Rule 24-1a without penalty. After replacing his ball, John observes that the area immediately behind the ball is outside the hazard. Therefore, John is permitted to ground his club behind the ball, since the club will not be touching ground within the hazard as prohibited by Rule 13-4b.
As Steve approaches his ball on the bridge, he realizes that since the margin of the hazard extends vertically upwards, the bridge is in the hazard and, therefore, his ball is in the hazard. He elects to play the ball as it lies from its position on the bridge. As the bridge is an obstruction, Steve may ground his club on the obstruction as permitted by the Note to Rule 13-4 and Decision 13-4/30.
David believes that his ball may be covered by loose impediments in the lateral water hazard. Rule 12-1 allows him to use a club to probe for his ball while searching for it. After removing some loose impediments with his club, he observes his ball lying in tall grass in a dry portion of the hazard. He must re-cover the ball with the loose impediments so that only part of the ball is visible. Prior to making his stroke, David touches the tops of the tall grass with some practice swings and at address as permitted by the Note to Rule 13-4. He then proceeds to hit the ball approximately 75 yards to the middle of the fairway.
Reprinted with permission from the USGA.