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bmartin461

Relief From Lateral Hazard Is a Bunker

20 posts in this topic

I was playing a course last week where both sides of the fairway were considered lateral hazards.  They did this to speed up play.  I hit a tee shot right and it went out of bounds (into the "lateral hazard") at the middle of a fairway bunker.

So two club lengths from the point the ball crossed would have been in the bunker.  My playing partner and I determined relief should be outside the bunker but I think this might have been incorrect.

There was a narrow grass strip, one foot wide that I could have placed the ball next to the red line, but I would have been standing in the bunker.

Thoughts?

I think my options should have been:

1 - Re-tee the ball

2 - Relief behind the bunker, in line with my original tee shot

Thanks,

Brad

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Quote:

I think my options should have been:

1 - Re-tee the ball

2 - Relief behind the bunker, in line with my original tee shot

Sorry, the options should be:

1 - Re-tee the ball

2 - Relief behind the bunker, in line from the point it crossed the hazard and the hole.

3 - Drop in the bunker within 2 clubs?

Thanks,

Brad

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Originally Posted by bmartin461

Sorry, the options should be:

1 - Re-tee the ball

2 - Relief behind the bunker, in line from the point it crossed the hazard and the hole.

3 - Drop in the bunker within 2 clubs?

Thanks,

Brad





Originally Posted by bmartin461

I was playing a course last week where both sides of the fairway were considered lateral hazards.  They did this to speed up play.  I hit a tee shot right and it went out of bounds (into the "lateral hazard") at the middle of a fairway bunker.

So two club lengths from the point the ball crossed would have been in the bunker.  My playing partner and I determined relief should be outside the bunker but I think this might have been incorrect.

There was a narrow grass strip, one foot wide that I could have placed the ball next to the red line, but I would have been standing in the bunker.

Thoughts?

I think my options should have been:

1 - Re-tee the ball

2 - Relief behind the bunker, in line with my original tee shot

Thanks,

Brad


I think option 2 is better for the play, as what you have said, there was a narrow grass strip and indeed placing the ball next to the red line is appropriate also.

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Hey bmartin,

First let me put my USGA Rules hat on and say the golf course, under the rules of golf, are not allowed to do what they did.  You are not allowed to mark something that, by definition is not a water hazard, a water hazard.  There are a couple of decisions in the Decisions book on this.  I understand what the course is trying to do, but it really does not speed up play, because if you think about it, if it wasn't marked, most folks would not go back to the tee if they couldn't find their ball anyway, they'd just drop one where the trees start.  I see this all the time.  So, regardless if they put a red line there or not, that's where most folks will drop their ball anyway.  Was this a resort course?  I see this done more on this type of course.

Anyway, back to your question.  Under rule 26 you have a number of options, which you pretty well covered.  The fact that the ball last crossed the margin of the hazard by the bunker is unfortunate.  You are allowed to drop within two club lengths of that spot.  (Also, it's a drop, initially, it could wind up being a place the ball but that's another story.).  The fact that the bunker was there was irrelevant.  Taking relief from the hazard is relief from that hazard.  You can drop in another hazard if you wish.  If that's all you have, which is kind of unusual, that's all you have. Sounds like you would have to drop in the bunker to get a good stance. There are some dropping issues that could come into play, but I don't want to glaze your eyes over anymore than I already have. Being a lateral hazard, I doubt that you could keep the point where the ball last crossed the hazard line and the pin, and drop back on that line.  That would just keep you in the junk.  The other option would be to return to the tee hitting 3.  There is one more option with a lateral hazard, but that would only apply if the the hazard had another line farther to the side, and it would not probably help your situation anyway.

You did mention out of bounds, which is entirely different than a hazard, I'm assuming you used the term to mean you wound up in the hazard.

If you have any questions about the drop and what's involved, let me know.

Regards,

John

Originally Posted by kathybhylton

I think option 2 is better for the play, as what you have said, there was a narrow grass strip and indeed placing the ball next to the red line is appropriate also.





Originally Posted by bmartin461

I was playing a course last week where both sides of the fairway were considered lateral hazards.  They did this to speed up play.  I hit a tee shot right and it went out of bounds (into the "lateral hazard") at the middle of a fairway bunker.

So two club lengths from the point the ball crossed would have been in the bunker.  My playing partner and I determined relief should be outside the bunker but I think this might have been incorrect.

There was a narrow grass strip, one foot wide that I could have placed the ball next to the red line, but I would have been standing in the bunker.

Thoughts?

I think my options should have been:

1 - Re-tee the ball

2 - Relief behind the bunker, in line with my original tee shot

Thanks,

Brad



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Brad,

I re read your message and just wanted to be clear on something.  With regards to dropping a golf ball, there is not such thing as "line of flight".   Draw a line from the pin to the point where your ball last crossed the margin of the hazard. You may drop on an extension of this line (going away from the pin as far back as you want.)  That's why  lateral hazards have the added drop within two club lengths option.  If you think about it, this line would not get you out of a lateral hazard, because an extension of this line usually keeps you in a lateral hazard.

A lot of folks don't realize that with a water hazard, (yellow stakes) you DO NOT have the drop within 2 club option.  You replay the previous shot, play it as it lies, or do the extension from the pin to the point option above.

Regards,

John

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Thanks John, that was a good explaination.

No, it was not a resort course, it was a semi-private course in So. Cal. called Moorpark Country Club.

Regards,

Brad

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Originally Posted by bmartin461

No, it was not a resort course, it was a semi-private course in So. Cal. called Moorpark Country Club.


A bunch of the courses in that area do this with the desert/waste areas. I know I've seen it at Olivas Links and at Rustic Canyon.

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Originally Posted by zeg

A bunch of the courses in that area do this with the desert/waste areas. I know I've seen it at Olivas Links and at Rustic Canyon.



I'm curious, do these courses have USGA Slope ratings?

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Originally Posted by Dormie1360

Hey bmartin,

First let me put my USGA Rules hat on and say the golf course, under the rules of golf, are not allowed to do what they did.  You are not allowed to mark something that, by definition is not a water hazard, a water hazard.  There are a couple of decisions in the Decisions book on this.  I understand what the course is trying to do, but it really does not speed up play, because if you think about it, if it wasn't marked, most folks would not go back to the tee if they couldn't find their ball anyway, they'd just drop one where the trees start.  I see this all the time.  So, regardless if they put a red line there or not, that's where most folks will drop their ball anyway.  Was this a resort course?  I see this done more on this type of course.

Regards,

John

I would disagree on this one.  First, the area is being designated as a 'lateral water hazard', not a regular 'water hazard'.  Also, a water hazard doesn't have to contain any water.  This is quite common practice on many courses, especially in forested areas.  I doubt all these courses are breaking the rules.

Please cite the decisions you are referring to for clarification.

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Originally Posted by TheGeekGolfer

I would disagree on this one.  First, the area is being designated as a 'lateral water hazard', not a regular 'water hazard'.  Also, a water hazard doesn't have to contain any water.  This is quite common practice on many courses, especially in forested areas.  I doubt all these courses are breaking the rules.

Please cite the decisions you are referring to for clarification.


The Rules define a “ lateral water hazard ” as a special kind of water hazard (as it relates to where you could potentially drop a ball, or in this case, not drop a ball). This makes the "lateral" portion of the thing simply a matter of geography and geometry.

The Rules then define a water hazard ’’ as any sea, lake, pond, river, ditch, surface drainage ditch or other open water course (whether or not containing water) and anything of a similar nature on the course .

The OP did not specify what was outside of "both sides of the fairway" but did refer to them as "out of bounds." If he later clarified, I missed it, but the overhead implies that these areas off the side of the fairways are most often not what the USGA would deem "water hazards", as the ponds and lakes are fairly easily distinguished: http://maps.google.com/maps?q=Moorpark+Country+Club&hl;=en≪=34.302571,-118.898828&spn;=0.005717,0.010858&client;=safari&oe;=UTF-8&hq;=Moorpark+Country+Club&radius;=15000&t;=h&z;=17 .

There's nothing about a "lateral water hazard" that makes it not a "regular" water hazard except that it's impossible or really inconvenient to drop a ball behind the water hazard. That's the only thing separating a LWH from a regular old WH.

The courses are breaking the Rules most of the time. Unless these areas are routinely swampy (which I would not call a "forested area"), then they're not "water hazards" and the areas should either be marked as OB or simply left alone. For example, a course nearby here has a few holes along a fairly steep cliff. It used to be marked as OB, but now it's simply not marked at all. No matter though - a lost ball is basically the same penalty as OB, but now they don't have to maintain or mow around a bunch of white stakes. :)

So no decisions necessary. Just the definitions of "water hazard" and "lateral water hazard."

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Originally Posted by iacas

The Rules define a “lateral water hazard” as a special kind of water hazard (as it relates to where you could potentially drop a ball, or in this case, not drop a ball). This makes the "lateral" portion of the thing simply a matter of geography and geometry.

The Rules then define a “water hazard’’ as any sea, lake, pond, river, ditch, surface drainage ditch or other open water course (whether or not containing water) and anything of a similar nature on the course.

The OP did not specify what was outside of "both sides of the fairway" but did refer to them as "out of bounds." If he later clarified, I missed it, but the overhead implies that these areas off the side of the fairways are most often not what the USGA would deem "water hazards", as the ponds and lakes are fairly easily distinguished: http://maps.google.com/maps?q=Moorpark+Country+Club&hl;=en≪=34.302571,-118.898828&spn;=0.005717,0.010858&client;=safari&oe;=UTF-8&hq;=Moorpark+Country+Club&radius;=15000&t;=h&z;=17 .

There's nothing about a "lateral water hazard" that makes it not a "regular" water hazard except that it's impossible or really inconvenient to drop a ball behind the water hazard. That's the only thing separating a LWH from a regular old WH.

The courses are breaking the Rules most of the time. Unless these areas are routinely swampy (which I would not call a "forested area"), then they're not "water hazards" and the areas should either be marked as OB or simply left alone. For example, a course nearby here has a few holes along a fairly steep cliff. It used to be marked as OB, but now it's simply not marked at all. No matter though - a lost ball is basically the same penalty as OB, but now they don't have to maintain or mow around a bunch of white stakes. :)

So no decisions necessary. Just the definitions of "water hazard" and "lateral water hazard."

Any 'environmentally-sensitive' area may be declared by the local rules committee as a 'lateral' or regular water hazard and played as such.  This happened, for example, at the 2003 US Women's Open played at Pumpkin Ridge (just outside Portland, OR). See video here .  These areas did not and never do have anything resembling a sea, lake, pond, river, ditch, etc , yet are played as water hazards.  This is the same for forested areas on wooded courses, basically, if the course doesn't want you going into that area to find and play your ball because you might damage the foliage, bird nesting areas, whatever; then that is up to that course and well within the rules of golf and the USGA.

USGA Definition of 'Lateral Water Hazard'  - Note 2: The Committee may make a Local Rule prohibiting play from an environmentally-sensitive area defined as a lateral water hazard .

If the course referred to above by the OP has a local rule declaring these areas to be 'lateral water hazards', then that is their ruling and would not be played as out-of-bounds, since they aren't defined as such.  Out-of-bounds is any area that is declared as such by the local rules committee, and since these areas are listed (according to the OP) as 'lateral hazards', they are to be treated as such and would NOT be out-of-bounds.


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Originally Posted by TheGeekGolfer

Any 'environmentally-sensitive' area may be declared by the local rules committee as a 'lateral' or regular water hazard and played as such.  This happened, for example, at the 2003 US Women's Open played at Pumpkin Ridge (just outside Portland, OR).  See video here.  These areas did not and never do have anything resembling a sea, lake, pond, river, ditch, etc, yet are played as water hazards.

You forgot something:

If an appropriate authority prohibits entry into and/or play from an area for environmental reasons, it is the Committee's responsibility to decide whether an environmentally-sensitive area should be defined as ground under repair, a water hazard or out of bounds.

However, the Committee may not define the area as a water hazard or a lateral water hazard unless it is, by Definition, a water hazard. The Committee should attempt to preserve the character of the hole.

So no, still not proper to define these areas as a lateral water hazard.

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Originally Posted by TheGeekGolfer

I would disagree on this one.  First, the area is being designated as a 'lateral water hazard', not a regular 'water hazard'.  Also, a water hazard doesn't have to contain any water.  This is quite common practice on many courses, especially in forested areas.  I doubt all these courses are breaking the rules.

Please cite the decisions you are referring to for clarification.


Hi GeekGolfer,

Here you go.  As mentioned above there is a specific definition for what constitutes a water hazard.  This decision clarifies what I was talking about.

33-8/35

Local Rule Treating Rough as a Lateral Water Hazard

Q. The areas immediately adjacent to the fairways consist of large embedded boulders, thick desert brush and prickly cactus. A player whose ball comes to rest in such areas has no opportunity to play a stroke. Would it be proper to make a Local Rule under which such areas would be treated as lateral water hazards?

A. No. There are many courses where the areas adjacent to the fairways are of such a nature that a ball therein is almost always lost or unplayable. Thus, such a situation is not abnormal.

Regards,

John

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Originally Posted by Dormie1360

I'm curious, do these courses have USGA Slope ratings?


Yes, and they're quite reputable golf courses. I just checked and Olivas doesn't actually declare the "native areas" to be hazards, but provides a special relief procedure:

"Relief procedures from Native Areas: When the ball is resting in the native areas, you may play it as it lies; or (under penalty of one stroke whether ball is lost or found) you may drop a ball at the point where it last crossed the Native margin, within 2 club lengths, no nearer the hole"

Rustic Canyon actually may be in the clear (or nearly so) on this. The areas are (apparently) valid environmentally-sensitive areas, and the terrain is such that most of them are probably reasonably considered to be drainage areas during rainy periods. The fairways/rough are generally slightly elevated above the rest of the canyon, so it's probably at most a few mis-categorized areas.

Originally Posted by TheGeekGolfer

Any 'environmentally-sensitive' area may be declared by the local rules committee as a 'lateral' or regular water hazard and played as such.  This happened, for example, at the 2003 US Women's Open played at Pumpkin Ridge (just outside Portland, OR).  See video here.  These areas did not and never do have anything resembling a sea, lake, pond, river, ditch, etc, yet are played as water hazards.  This is the same for forested areas on wooded courses, basically, if the course doesn't want you going into that area to find and play your ball because you might damage the foliage, bird nesting areas, whatever; then that is up to that course and well within the rules of golf and the USGA.


In addition to Erik's clarification, note that the committee may specify the relief for an environmentally-sensitive area, but they cannot decide for themselves whether an area is environmentally sensitive, an "appropriate authority" must make that declaration.

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Thanks zeg, that makes more sence.  ESA's are a different animal all together.  Here is the full decision referenced above on how they should be marked depending on what they are and where they are.

33-8/41

Marking Environmentally-Sensitive Areas

If an appropriate authority prohibits entry into and/or play from an area for environmental reasons, it is the Committee's responsibility to decide whether an environmentally-sensitive area should be defined as ground under repair, a water hazard or out of bounds.

However, the Committee may not define the area as a water hazard or a lateral water hazard unless it is, by Definition, a water hazard. The Committee should attempt to preserve the character of the hole.

As examples:

(a) A small area of rare plants close to a putting green has been declared an environmentally-sensitive area. The Committee may define the area to be ground under repair or out of bounds, but it may not be defined as a water hazard or lateral water hazard. In view of the area's proximity to a putting green, it should not be defined as out of bounds because a stroke-and-distance penalty would be unduly harsh. It would be more appropriate to define the area as ground under repair.

(b) A large area of sand dunes along the side of a hole has been declared an environmentally-sensitive area. In contrast to (a) above, it should not be defined as ground under repair because the absence of a penalty would be unduly generous. It would be more appropriate to define the area as out of bounds.

(c) A large area of wetlands along the side of a hole has been declared an environmentally-sensitive area. As in (b) above, it could be defined as out of bounds, but it would be more appropriate to define it as a lateral water hazard.

An environmentally-sensitive area should be physically protected to deter players from entering the area (e.g., by a fence, warning signs and the like) and it should be marked in accordance with the recommendations in the Rules of Golf (i.e., by yellow, red or white stakes, depending on the status of the area). It is recommended that stakes with green tops be used to designate an environmentally-sensitive area.

Regards,

John

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Originally Posted by Dormie1360

Hi GeekGolfer,

Here you go.  As mentioned above there is a specific definition for what constitutes a water hazard.  This decision clarifies what I was talking about.

33-8/35

Local Rule Treating Rough as a Lateral Water Hazard

Q.The areas immediately adjacent to the fairways consist of large embedded boulders, thick desert brush and prickly cactus. A player whose ball comes to rest in such areas has no opportunity to play a stroke. Would it be proper to make a Local Rule under which such areas would be treated as lateral water hazards?

A.No. There are many courses where the areas adjacent to the fairways are of such a nature that a ball therein is almost always lost or unplayable. Thus, such a situation is not abnormal.

Regards,

John



Thanks for this posting, I didn't find this, I was looking in section 26-1, concerning water hazards.

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Originally Posted by iacas

You forgot something:

So no, still not proper to define these areas as a lateral water hazard.

Quote (33-8/41):

If an appropriate authority prohibits entry into and/or play from an area for environmental reasons, it is the Committee's responsibility to decide whether an environmentally-sensitive area should be defined as ground under repair, a water hazard or out of bounds.

However, the Committee may not define the area as a water hazard or a lateral water hazard unless it is, by Definition, a water hazard. The Committee should attempt to preserve the character of the hole.

Thanks Eric, yeah, didn't see that in section 33 (about the committee), I was looking in section 26.  Still sounds like they are talking in circles.  They say the Committee may not mark an area as a water hazard unless it is by definition a water hazard, but then when they define a water hazard, they say that the committee may designate an area as a water hazard if it's environmentally sensitive.  As usual, they are being vague to allow for decisions to further clarify things, as needed.

I would say that since you can probably find any 'appropriate authority' to say whatever you want with regards to some environmental factor these days, they can go ahead and designate those areas as lateral hazards.

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Originally Posted by iacas

You forgot something:

Quote (33-8/41):

If an appropriate authority prohibits entry into and/or play from an area for environmental reasons, it is the Committee's responsibility to decide whether an environmentally-sensitive area should be defined as ground under repair, a water hazard or out of bounds.

However, the Committee may not define the area as a water hazard or a lateral water hazard unless it is, by Definition, a water hazard. The Committee should attempt to preserve the character of the hole.


Note that the decision specifically mentions " appropriate authority ".  This means a local environmental entity must be involved.  It's not a condition which a course can simply declare just to improve pace of play.  The course can designate any area as out of bounds or any wetland or watercourse as a water hazard, but it can only be considered as environmentally sensitive with input from such an agency.  For an out of bounds area it doesn't matter, but for a water hazard it must be so designated in order for the committee to prohibit play from within the margin.

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