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Question about partially marked lateral hazard


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So today, I blocked a drive toward some woods. Saw no stakes and hit a provisional assuming it would be a lost ball.

When I got around where my ball would have been I saw it was swampy and there were red stakes. along the woods parallel to the fairway.

Then I walked back to where the drive crossed the boundary of the woods and there were no stakes per the simple diagram below. If the boundary stops and it hasn't been crossed then even though the ball sits behind the hazard line relative to the fairway, am I exempted from playing water hazard rules?

 

golf rules question diagram.PNG

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It must be known or virtually certain that the ball is in the hazard.  If not, then it is a lost ball.  Because of the woods before you get to the hazard, I'd say that you lacked the necessary certainty.  It may be that the part of the hazard that your ball may have crossed was not intended to be a lateral water hazard.  It may be intended to be a regular water hazard, thus, the red stakes do not extend past the end of the water/swamp.  Hard to be certain since I'm not there and cant see the layout for myself.

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The lateral water hazard is not well marked.  The line should continue round between the wood and the swampy area.  But where the marking of of the margin a water hazard is inadequate, you can’t escape proceeding under water hazard rules.  Your ball last crossed the margin of the hazard at A in this amended diagram and I would consider that it is a water hazard at this point, not a lateral water hazard.

water hazard.jpg

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7 hours ago, ColinL said:
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The lateral water hazard is not well marked.  The line should continue round between the wood and the swampy area.  But where the marking of of the margin a water hazard is inadequate, you can’t escape proceeding under water hazard rules.  Your ball last crossed the margin of the hazard at A in this amended diagram and I would consider that it is a water hazard at this point, not a lateral water hazard.

water hazard.jpg

Imo, the player would have to find the ball in the hazard area to convince me that it crossed at A.  Without finding the ball, it's a lost ball.

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The woods part was open enough in some spots to allow playing out. It was completely dry. The swamp and woods was like 25% open water and 75% woodsy.

So any non-casual water (flooded ditch e.g.) even if unmarked is a water hazard? So as soon as I was virtually certain the ball was in the water, the provisional became the ball in play under stroke and distance? That's how I played it. It's possible that there were some markings along the boundary between the woods and the swamp, but it was so thick with brush that I couldn't see any from the margins. I knew the 2nd ball played from the tee would be better anyway so just continued.

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47 minutes ago, natureboy said:

The woods part was open enough in some spots to allow playing out. It was completely dry. The swamp and woods was like 25% open water and 75% woodsy.

So any non-casual water (flooded ditch e.g.) even if unmarked is a water hazard? So as soon as I was virtually certain the ball was in the water, the provisional became the ball in play under stroke and distance? That's how I played it. It's possible that there were some markings along the boundary between the woods and the swamp, but it was so thick with brush that I couldn't see any from the margins. I knew the 2nd ball played from the tee would be better anyway so just continued.

Imo, you proceeded correctly.  It was not known or virtually certain that your ball was in the water hazard.  Read Decision 26-1/1 for the standard to establish knowledge or virtual certainty.  It's not whether you personally are certain, it's an analysis of the situation and surrounding conditions.

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1 hour ago, natureboy said:

So any non-casual water (flooded ditch e.g.) even if unmarked is a water hazard? So as soon as I was virtually certain the ball was in the water, the provisional became the ball in play under stroke and distance? That's how I played it. It's possible that there were some markings along the boundary between the woods and the swamp, but it was so thick with brush that I couldn't see any from the margins. I knew the 2nd ball played from the tee would be better anyway so just continued.

Small point… you do not get to use a provisional if your ball is in the water hazard. Provisionals are just for lost or OB.

So you played it properly (because it was lost), but wouldn't have played it properly if it was virtually certain to be in the hazard (i.e. if you saw a splash, etc.).

I agree with others that you likely couldn't be virtually certain the ball was in the water. Though we haven't seen the "woods" you put on your drawing.

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2 hours ago, rogolf said:

Imo, the player would have to find the ball in the hazard area to convince me that it crossed at A.  Without finding the ball, it's a lost ball.

No disagreement there.  I was answering on the basis of his knowing his ball was in the water hazard as the arrow on the diagram indicated.

Edited by ColinL
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(edited)
4 hours ago, rogolf said:

Imo, you proceeded correctly.  It was not known or virtually certain that your ball was in the water hazard.  Read Decision 26-1/1 for the standard to establish knowledge or virtual certainty.  It's not whether you personally are certain, it's an analysis of the situation and surrounding conditions.

All I saw was that it went into thick trees. Could have gone anywhere. Any water was obscured from the tee and the stakes were not visible, so no chance of seeing a splash if there was one. All I knew from the tee was that is was almost definitely lost in a thicket.

The arrow on the diagram is an estimate of its likely final position based on where I saw it cross the tree line in the air and about how far I estimated its carry, Given the thickness of the trees where I saw it go down it could have bounced anywhere, but was fairly likely in the swampy bit.

@iacas the woods were slightly open nearer me, but thickened considerably about 15 - 30 feet in from the treeline - thick enough so that the water in the swamp was not visible nor the landing of the ball.

Edited by natureboy
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With that clarification, there is no doubt that your ball was lost.  You did not have virtually certainty that your ball was in the water hazard when you say “all I saw was that it went into thick trees."

My reply is only applicable to a situation where the ball certainly went where the  arrow points.

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That's what I thought, but wanted to clarify if it mattered discovering the hazard stakes after the fact.

If I knew about the hazard and could see the margin and was virtually certain it plunked (appx landing spot well withing the margins). Could I still hit three from the tee without going forward or do the rules require a search first?

Obviously if I were ever to play a tournament I would have the course map to clarify - and I expect the course would be better marked.

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13 minutes ago, natureboy said:

That's what I thought, but wanted to clarify if it mattered discovering the hazard stakes after the fact.

If I knew about the hazard and could see the margin and was virtually certain it plunked (appx landing spot well withing the margins). Could I still hit three from the tee without going forward or do the rules require a search first?

Obviously if I were ever to play a tournament I would have the course map to clarify - and I expect the course would be better marked.

You always have the option to hit three from the tee. If you knew it was in the WH one option is stroke and distance. (26-1a)

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21 minutes ago, Martyn W said:

You always have the option to hit three from the tee. If you knew it was in the WH one option is stroke and distance. (26-1a)

But is a search required to be virtually certain if you didn't see it land in the hazard or a tree could have bounced it well away to rule out the small possibility that it's outside the hazard?

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25 minutes ago, natureboy said:

But is a search required to be virtually certain if you didn't see it land in the hazard or a tree could have bounced it well away to rule out the small possibility that it's outside the hazard?

A search is not required.

Virtual certainty comes into play when deciding whether or not the ball is in the water hazard.  You look at the conditions such as wind, dryness of the course, how well the ball is flying that day, thickness of the trees, etc.  You also consider the trajectory of the ball.  You look at the surrounding terrain.  For example, some water hazards have nothing but tightly mowed grass around them, and in that case, if the ball isn't in the hazard, one would see it.  Other water hazards are surrounded by deep grass, bushes, cattails, trees, etc.  You might even consider the position of the sun - i.e. if you were looking directly into the sun, you might have a lot of doubt about how well you tracked the ball's flight.  If you have others with you, you consider their opinions too.

With all that information, you ask yourself one question:  "Is there any place the ball could be other than in the hazard?"

If the answer to this question is "yes," then your ball is lost. 

As a side note, given what you've described, there's likely no way I'd allow you to claim virtual certainty.  A ball hit into the trees can literally go anywhere.

Edited by wadesworld
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19 minutes ago, natureboy said:

But is a search required to be virtually certain if you didn't see it land in the hazard or a tree could have bounced it well away to rule out the small possibility that it's outside the hazard?

No search is necessary, and, as Rule 27-1 says, a player may proceed under stroke and distance at any time.

The tricky part is if you want to play a provisional instead of proceeding directly under stroke and distance.  You can only play a provisional for a ball which may be lost outside a water hazard or may be out of bounds, and you must announce that you are playing a provisional (use the word provisional).  If your original ball is then found, regardless of whether its in a water hazard or outside a water hazard, you must abandon the provisional ball and continue with the original. 

If it is known or virtually certain (not your own "virtually certain", but as explained in Decision 26-1/1) that your original ball is in a water hazard, you are not entitled to play a provisional.  If you do play another ball when it is known or virtually certain that your original ball is in a water hazard (or lateral water hazard), your original ball is lost and your second ball is the ball in play under penalty of stroke and distance.  In that case, even if you find your original ball, either in or out of the water hazard, it's irrelevant and you must continue with the second ball.

 

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(edited)
36 minutes ago, rogolf said:

No search is necessary, and, as Rule 27-1 says, a player may proceed under stroke and distance at any time.

The tricky part is if you want to play a provisional instead of proceeding directly under stroke and distance.  You can only play a provisional for a ball which may be lost outside a water hazard or may be out of bounds, and you must announce that you are playing a provisional (use the word provisional).  If your original ball is then found, regardless of whether its in a water hazard or outside a water hazard, you must abandon the provisional ball and continue with the original. 

If it is known or virtually certain (not your own "virtually certain", but as explained in Decision 26-1/1) that your original ball is in a water hazard, you are not entitled to play a provisional.  If you do play another ball when it is known or virtually certain that your original ball is in a water hazard (or lateral water hazard), your original ball is lost and your second ball is the ball in play under penalty of stroke and distance.  In that case, even if you find your original ball, either in or out of the water hazard, it's irrelevant and you must continue with the second ball.

 

But from what Erik said, it sounded like I could incur some sort of penalty other than stroke and distance just for calling it a provisional if there was a chance it was in the hazard. Or if my fellow competitor / opponent were themselves virtually certain (or at least claimed to be) that the ball was in the hazard, would that make my 2nd ball off the tee automatically 3 rather than my 'declared provisional'? Does their opinion count requiring me to determine what their POV is before I hit the 2nd ball off the tee?

Edited by natureboy
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21 minutes ago, natureboy said:

But from what Erik said, it sounded like I could incur some sort of penalty other than stroke and distance just for calling it a provisional if there was a chance it was in the hazard. Or if my fellow competitor / opponent were themselves virtually certain (or at least claimed to be) that the ball was in the hazard, would that make my 2nd ball off the tee automatically 3 rather than my 'declared provisional'? Does their opinion count requiring me to determine what their POV is before I hit the 2nd ball off the tee?

After re-reading Eric's message, I don't think he is saying anything different than what I tried to say.  If you were to announce "I'm playing a provisional as my ball may be lost outside a water hazard" when it is not virtually certain that your ball is in a water hazard, your opponent/FC will have no recourse - you are correctly playing a provisional.  You do not need their "permission" to play a provisional.  "May" is very broad.

Edited by rogolf
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1 minute ago, rogolf said:

After re-reading Eric's message, I don't think he is saying anything different than what I tried to say.  If you were to announce "I'm playing a provisional as my ball may be lost outside a water hazard" when it is not virtually certain that your ball is in a water hazard, your opponent/FC will have no recourse - you are correctly playing a provisional.  You do not need their "permission" to play a provisional.

Okay good clarification. What if he saw it plunk and I didn't. Am I bound to use his 'available information'?

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