Recently I was playing Mt. View and the person I was playing with had an interesting situation so I thought I would share it with you. This golfer was about 120 yards from the pin on hole #15. She's a good golfer and decided to go for the green for her 3rd shot. Her ball made it well over the water right of the green, and even went over the yellow stakes on the other side. But then...the ball hit the hill and rolled back into the water. She asked me what her options were since her ball had made it over the water. I told her the options, but they weren't exactly what she thought they would be. In fact she felt a lot of our WWGA members might make the same wrong assumption that she did.
Shown below is a picture of the situation on MV #15 which has a yellow stake penalty area around the green. In this picture the yellow dotted line shows her ball flight. She wanted to drop on the greenside, but even though her ball made it over the yellow staked penalty area, this is not a relief option under the rules. In yellow stake penalty areas there are only 2 options unless there is a drop zone (which there is not) .
Option 1 - Stoke & Distance Relief which is dropping within 1 club length (point G) from where she hit her errant shot, no closer to the hole with a 1 stroke penalty.
Option 2 - Back on the Line Relief (also with a 1 stroke penalty) which is based on where the ball last crossed the hazard line.
She then wanted to use W1 as a reference point. W1 is where the ball first crossed the hazard. Using this point would mean she was dropping in the wrong place which is a 2 stroke penalty.
In this case she must use W2 as the reference point which is where her ball last crossed the hazard when it rolled back into the water. So using W2 as the reference point and the flag (yellow triangle) as the second reference point, she could drop her ball along the white dotted line behind the reference point W2 (but not in the hazard). This is shown as OPT2.
It is probably useful to note you don't just get to drop "any ole place" when your ball goes into the water. Just because you are dropping somewhere on the hazard side across from the pin doesn't mean it is the right place. You must use the imaginary reference line based on the position of the flag and where your ball last crossed the hazard. Dropping in the the wrong place is a 2 stroke penalty.
Further information on the rules for taking relief can be found in Issue VII of The Golf Rules Review which is posted on the WWGA website.
Hope you find this helpful.
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