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MEfree

Lateral Water Hazard Boundary?

16 posts in this topic

The Keystone golf courses seem to have a shortage of stakes marking hazards.  To conserve stakes, they typically mark one side of the hazard, but not the other.  i,e. https://maps.google.com/maps?q=keystone+river+golf+course≪=39.602111,-105.985589&spn;=0.000908,0.002064&fb;=1≷=us&hq;=keystone+river+golf+course&radius;=15000&t;=h&z;=20 has two stakes near the bridge at the center of the frame, and a couple of more stakes on the fairway side of the hazard going towards the green, but no stakes on the other 3 sides of the hazard.

Where does the hazard end?  Is everything left of the stakes included?  What angle do you take from the stakes to determine what is in and what is out of the hazard?

In other cases, stakes are placed in such a way that an area that should obviously be included in a hazard is technically outside the stakes.  How should this be played?

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The Rules cover situations where water hazards are not marked.

Look in the Definitions as well as at Rule 26 (and Decisions like 26/3).

And then get the Committee to properly mark the course. Where you play they seem to have a lot of these kinds of problems. :)

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Originally Posted by Rulesman

See also Decision 33-2a/4

so this says that you can`t take advantage of a committees error by playing it as casual water...is it the same if the committees error might hurt you?  (i.e. your ball is lost in what should be within the natural margins of the hazard, but the hazard is not marked properly)

Originally Posted by iacas

The Rules cover situations where water hazards are not marked.

Look in the Definitions as well as at Rule 26 (and Decisions like 26/3).

And then get the Committee to properly mark the course. Where you play they seem to have a lot of these kinds of problems. :)

I agree that they should do a better job marking the hazards, but there are some stakes, so I am not sure if I can treat it as an "unmarked" hazard??

I read rule 26 before posting, but couldn`t find anything covering the direction a hazard is assumed to go based on the posts.  If the posts form something resembling a circle, square, rectangle or other enclosed shape, then it seems easy.  What I am trying to figure out is what happens when the posts are just a line segment?

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Originally Posted by MEfree

If the posts form something resembling a circle, square, rectangle or other enclosed shape, then it seems easy.  What I am trying to figure out is what happens when the posts are just a line segment?

It's difficult for me to say anything about a particular hole without actually being there, but you can have a lateral hazard with only one side.

See Dec 33-2a/11

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Originally Posted by MEfree

so this says that you can`t take advantage of a committees error by playing it as casual water...is it the same if the committees error might hurt you?  (i.e. your ball is lost in what should be within the natural margins of the hazard, but the hazard is not marked properly)

I agree that they should do a better job marking the hazards, but there are some stakes, so I am not sure if I can treat it as an "unmarked" hazard??

I read rule 26 before posting, but couldn`t find anything covering the direction a hazard is assumed to go based on the posts.  If the posts form something resembling a circle, square, rectangle or other enclosed shape, then it seems easy.  What I am trying to figure out is what happens when the posts are just a line segment?

If the water is a lake or pond then it is reasonable to assume the whole area is a water hazard. That might not be the case where the water is an ocean (eg Pebble Beach where the far side is Hawaii).

Whether it is partially or completely unmarked, it is by definition a water hazard and should be played as such. 26/3 is the authority. Any unmarked margins should be treated as if they had been marked correctly.

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Originally Posted by Rulesman

Whether it is partially or completely unmarked, it is by definition a water hazard and should be played as such. 26/3 is the authority. Any unmarked margins should be treated as if they had been marked correctly.

I think this is correct. I almost posted the above-cited decision as evidence that the incorrect marking took precedence, but I believe that is an incorrect reading of that decision. As someone interpreted above, that ruling says that you don't get to "take advantage" of the error by using the casual water rule for a hazard.

A water hazard has a definition that can't be modified by local rule. In a case where there was a reasonable interpretation under which the stakes were correctly marking the boundary, then I think the stakes would be the deciding factor. If they're plainly wrong under the immutable definition of a water hazard, then I think the definition itself needs to be correctly interpreted and the stakes ignored (except perhaps in deciding whether it was the Committee's intent to mark it as a lateral hazard or not, based on the color of the stake).

Informally, I wonder if it'd be fair to say that a stake can mark a hazard, but it can't "unmark" a hazard. That is, a stake can extend the margin of a hazard to be reasonably larger than the most conservative reasonable interpretation, but it can't reduce the margin to smaller than that. The area outside the stakes would, by definition, have to be included, regardless of the stake. I think this is a natural interpretation---and is the flipside of the concept that a Committee cannot "declare" a water hazard where there is no water.

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To continue this, we have a meandering stream which is staked as LWH. Stakes are every 10 - 15 yards. The stream makes tight S curves so that the straight line between stakes may cut the peninsula or the river at certain points. The stakes themselves are normally about a yard from the edge of the water (quite steep slopes). How should I find the correct boundary of the hazard as there is no painted line?

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The R&A; Guidance includes this:

I n general, lines or stakes defining the margins of a water hazard should be placed as nearly as possible along the natural limits of the hazard, i.e. where the ground breaks down to form the depression containing the water. This means that sloping banks will be included within the margins of the hazard.
I would suggest you use this to define the unmarked margins. ie the area between the solid red and dotted red lines is in the hazard.

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Originally Posted by Rulesman

Quote:

Originally Posted by MEfree

so this says that you can`t take advantage of a committees error by playing it as casual water...is it the same if the committees error might hurt you?  (i.e. your ball is lost in what should be within the natural margins of the hazard, but the hazard is not marked properly)

I agree that they should do a better job marking the hazards, but there are some stakes, so I am not sure if I can treat it as an "unmarked" hazard??

I read rule 26 before posting, but couldn`t find anything covering the direction a hazard is assumed to go based on the posts.  If the posts form something resembling a circle, square, rectangle or other enclosed shape, then it seems easy.  What I am trying to figure out is what happens when the posts are just a line segment?

If the water is a lake or pond then it is reasonable to assume the whole area is a water hazard. That might not be the case where the water is an ocean (eg Pebble Beach where the far side is Hawaii).

Whether it is partially or completely unmarked, it is by definition a water hazard and should be played as such. 26/3 is the authority. Any unmarked margins should be treated as if they had been marked correctly.

Part of the difficulty that MEFree is concerned with is that in the area where he plays a lot there are some wetlands where the natural boundaries can be quite indistinct.  Willows, sedge grasses and the like, along with a network of small streams and sometimes almost bog like conditions make both marking and identification of natural boundaries very difficult.  It's a case where you would almost have to be on the spot to make any sort of definitive ruling.

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Originally Posted by Fourputt

Part of the difficulty that MEFree is concerned with is that in the area where he plays a lot there are some wetlands where the natural boundaries can be quite indistinct.  Willows, sedge grasses and the like, along with a network of small streams and sometimes almost bog like conditions make both marking and identification of natural boundaries very difficult.  It's a case where you would almost have to be on the spot to make any sort of definitive ruling.

Exactly!  I have already run into this problem several times-

1.  A few weeks ago I hit into what was intended to be an ESA LWH- it wasn`t all water, but very easy to tell where they intended the ESA to run based on how the grass was mown.  However, looking at the states, a corner of the intended hazard was not included.  Didn`t find my ball, but it was virtually certain it was in the intended hazard, but likely to be in the corner that was not properly staked.  What to do?  We ended up looking a bit in the unstaked corner before a ranger came up, told us to get out of the ESA and later apologized to me and said he had fixed the stakes after we left.  After he arrived I played it as a LWH, but would I have had to play it as a LB without his input?

2.  The lake I described above- my ball was virtually certain to be in the lake OR the 2 foot long native grass leading into the lake.  If the hazard was marked properly according to USGA guidelines, then I think the long grass should have been included.  Can I make that assumption or was I correct to play another ball from the tee?

It seems like Keystone might not be the only course that suffers from these problems http://thesandtrap.com/t/62215/in-the-hazard-or-ob

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Originally Posted by MEfree

2.  The lake I described above- my ball was virtually certain to be in the lake OR the 2 foot long native grass leading into the lake.  If the hazard was marked properly according to USGA guidelines, then I think the long grass should have been included.  Can I make that assumption or was I correct to play another ball from the tee?

The correct answer is to play two balls under rule 3-3.

The pragmatic answer if simply playing under the USGA handicap system, is to play as if the LWH was marked as per the guidelines. But don't quote me

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In the case of a water hazard, whether regular (yellow) or lateral (red) the margin of the water-line and or/any boundary stakes/lines are considered to be in the hazard, and play a ball touching this area per applicable USGA and local rule.  The boundary is found from running a string (imaginary line) between the two nearest outer most points.

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In some cases the outermost edge of the water and the nearest stake, if the stakes do not continue, if that was not clear.

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Originally Posted by Fourputt

Part of the difficulty that MEFree is concerned with is that in the area where he plays a lot there are some wetlands where the natural boundaries can be quite indistinct.  Willows, sedge grasses and the like, along with a network of small streams and sometimes almost bog like conditions make both marking and identification of natural boundaries very difficult.  It's a case where you would almost have to be on the spot to make any sort of definitive ruling.

I encountered this today at Keystone Ranch- today was the first day they were open (they opened the River 2-3 weeks ago).  They had not put up ANY hazard stakes yet.

I hit a shot just left of the back of the 17th green http://maps.google.com/maps?q=keystone+ranch+golf+course≪=39.578361,-105.994923&spn;=0.000852,0.001039&fb;=1≷=us&hq;=keystone+ranch+golf+course&cid;=0,0,13240230494915743703&t;=h&z;=20&iwloc;=A

and wasn't sure if I was inside last years hazard boundary.  I also couldn't remember if it had been marked as an ESA or not or if it had been a read or yellow staked area.  I had a decent lie on some matted down longer grass.  What would you do under these circumstances?

I saw my options as-

1.  Play it as being outside the hazard and hit a regular chip/pitch grounding my club.

2.  Play it as a hazard and hit the shot not grounding my club

3.  Play it as a lateral ESA and make a guess as to where the boundary was and see if I could drop within 2 club lengths no near the hole

4.  Play it as a regular ESA hazard and go back to where I hit my previous shot (as there is no way to go back keeping the point between you and the hole).

I went with options 1 & 4 (under 3-3) and later the pro said that it is a lateral ESA and it starts just left of the green/bunker, so I was in fact in the hazard.

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Originally Posted by MEfree

Quote:

Originally Posted by Fourputt

Part of the difficulty that MEFree is concerned with is that in the area where he plays a lot there are some wetlands where the natural boundaries can be quite indistinct.  Willows, sedge grasses and the like, along with a network of small streams and sometimes almost bog like conditions make both marking and identification of natural boundaries very difficult.  It's a case where you would almost have to be on the spot to make any sort of definitive ruling.

I encountered this today at Keystone Ranch- today was the first day they were open (they opened the River 2-3 weeks ago).  They had not put up ANY hazard stakes yet.

I hit a shot just left of the back of the 17th green and wasn't sure if I was inside last years hazard boundary.  I also couldn't remember if it had been marked as an ESA or not or if it had been a read or yellow staked area.  I had a decent lie on some matted down longer grass.  What would you do under these circumstances?

I saw my options as-

1.  Play it as being outside the hazard and hit a regular chip/pitch grounding my club.

2.  Play it as a hazard and hit the shot not grounding my club

3.  Play it as a lateral ESA and make a guess as to where the boundary was and see if I could drop within 2 club lengths no near the hole

4.  Play it as a regular ESA hazard and go back to where I hit my previous shot (as there is no way to go back keeping the point between you and the hole).

I went with options 1 & 4 (under 3-3) and later the pro said that it is a lateral ESA and it starts just left of the green/bunker, so I was in fact in the hazard.

If the marking isn't identifiable and I have a shot I can play, then I play it.  It is the responsibility of the course to define hazard margins, and lacking that definition, you can only go by your best estimate of the natural boundary.  Trying to play under last year's lines is overthinking the situation.

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