New Rules of Golf in 2019, part 17: Water hazards

Hi all.

This is part 17 (of 31) in a series of blogs about some of the proposed changes to the Rules of Golf.

These changes will take effect January 1st 2019.


17.1. Area.
Water hazards will in the proposal to the 2019-Rules of Golf no longer be “water hazards”; rather they will be called “penalty areas”.

See this blog about these areas.

17.2. Red and yellow.
Red and yellow water hazards / penalty areas will still exist, but the golf club is entitled to deem them all to be red. Thereby the extra “two-clublenght-option” will be available.

17.3. Play it as it lies.
You are allowed to play the ball as it lies in the penalty area, also under the proposed 2019-Rules of Golf.

17.4. “Are you sure”?
In the current Rules of Golf , you are only allowed to apply the water hazard rule (26-1), if it is known or virtually certain that the ball is in the water hazard. There must almost be no doubt, that the ball is in the water hazard, for you to proceed under the water hazard rule. This will be the same in the proposed 2019-Rules of Golf.

17.5. Relief with penalty.
Under the proposed 2019-Rules of Golf you are allowed to take relief with a one stroke penalty, when you ball is in the penalty area. You have these options:

  1. Play from where you last played.
  2. Drop in a penalty area, which is defined as an area 20 inches on each side of the reference line (= the extension away from the hole of the straight line between the hole and the spot, where the ball last crossed the margins of the area).
  3. (only in a red water hazard): Drop outside the water hazard within 80 inches of the “crossing-spot” (not nearer the hole).

Please note, that unless the golf clubs allows it, you no longer will have the option of dropping on the other side of the red water hazard (penalty area)!



OVERVIEW: 31 blogs about the proposal to new 2019-Rules of Golf.

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