Why? If I hit the ball 250 yards into a lake how is that a better shot than one that goes 250 yards that ends up off the course or in a spot designated as being off the course on a certain hole. You can't play either. How is a shot that is way offline that definitely enters a LWH better than a shot that is close to a LWH that you can't find but you are not virtually certain it entered the LWH. How about a shot that goes into the rough that you can't find? Is that a worse shot than one that goes over a cliff on the edge of the ocean?
I know that I am changing what MEfree meant when he started this poll, I think he wanted to make all three only stroke penalties not stroke and distance penalties. The poll does say should they be the same though and I think they should. The more I think about this the more I think that the problem lies with rules governing red stakes or LWH.
If it wasn't for that rule you wouldn't have so many people think that stroke and distance is a draconian penalty. You wouldn't think "wow that is harsh, if I had only hit into red stakes I would still get to keep some of the distance." Getting to keep the distance wouldn't even enter your head, you would just know and accept "if you lose your ball you go back and hit again from where you played your last shot." That is easy enough to understand and it would remove the uncertainty of where you ball crossed the stakes. Whether you are virtually certain the ball did enter the LWH ecetra.
I can't think of a rule that comes into play as much as LWH does that is so open to interpretation. Maybe because I mostly play with players that are as bad as I am but a ball usually enters a LWH several time a round playing with four people. I bet if we had each player decide where to drop on their own we would get four different locations. Sometimes we would also get differing opinions about whether their was virtual certainty that the ball did end up in a LWH. for that reason alone I think the rule is problematic.
Even pros have trouble with this, look at Tiger's drop at the players.
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If Tiger Woods leading a tournament on Sunday as prestigious as the Players can make a possibly incorrect determination in front of hundreds to thousands of spectators with aerial television replays while being watched by millions of people and no one can say definitively that it was a good drop or a bad drop there is something wrong with the rule.
I say get rid of red stakes or LWH, if you can find it you can play it, if not go back to your last shot and take your penalty.
I just want to be clear I should have said. I say get rid of red stakes or LWH, if you can find it on the course you can play it, if not go back to your last shot and take your penalty.