Originally Posted by dmp2109
I had a argument with a friend about this just looking for a clear definition tried doing a little research just never found the answer
When you it a ball OB or in a water hazard etc what determines wether you can take a drop from when it crossed or wether you re-tee and your hitting 3 from the tee box
Out of Bounds: no choice but to play from where you played your last stroke with a 1 stroke penalty (Rule 27-1b).
Water hazard: as long as you know or are certain your ball is in a water hazard (yellow stakes or line) you have the option of playing from where you played your last stroke or dropping any distance back on a line from the hole through where the ball last crossed the margin of the hazard. If your ball is in a lateral water hazard (red stakes or line), you have these two options plus you can drop within 2 club lengths of where the ball last crossed the margin (not nearer the hole) or 2 club lengths from the point on the other side which is the same distance from the hole. Have a look at Rule 26-1 http://www.usga.org/Rule-Books/Rules-of-Golf/Rule-26/
If you can't find your ball and there is any doubt about the ball being in the hazard, you must consider it lost after a maximum of 5 minutes searching and play from where you last played a stroke. (Rule 27-1c)
I suggest you leave Rule 26-2 for the moment - it's a bit complicated.