, like bunkers
, are natural obstacles designed to add both visual interest and difficulty to a golf
course. Water hazards are typically either streams or ponds, situated between the teeing ground
and the hole.
Types of Water Hazards
Two types of water hazards exist: "lateral" water hazards (marked with red stakes around the perimeter of the hazard) and "regular" water hazards (marked with yellow stakes). Lateral hazards are usually adjacent to the hole being played, while regular hazards generally cross the hole being played, forcing the player to hit over the water hazard.
When a ball is hit into either type of hazard, the player has the option of:
- playing the ball as it lies (without grounding his or her club) in the hazard,
- taking a stroke and distance penalty by playing a substitute ball from the spot at which they hit into the hazard,
- dropping the ball on a line of sight between the hole and where the ball last crossed the margin of the hazard (no closer to the hole), at a penalty of one stroke,
- extending the line-of-sight to the other side of the water hazard, allowing the player to traverse the water hazard and often obtain a decent lie on the other side of the water, at a penalty of one stroke (this is seldom used), or
- when a ball is hit into a lateral water hazard, dropping a ball within two club lengths of where the ball last crossed the margin of the hazard (no closer to the hole), at a penalty of one stroke.