No.3 Water & Lateral Water Hazard Stakes
Question 1: What colour stakes and/or lines define a lateral water hazard?
Answer: Red stakes and/or lines.

Question 2: A player's ball last crosses the margin of a water hazard at points a, b and c above. In which of these three cases, if any, may the player take the option of dropping their ball within two club-lengths, not nearer the hole.

Answer: The water hazard in the photo above has not been correctly defined by the Committee, as there is no clear indication of where the water hazard ends (yellow stakes and/or lines) and where the lateral water hazard starts (red stakes and/or lines). Consequently, the player should assume that the additional option of dropping within two club-lengths of where the ball last crossed the margin of a lateral water hazard, afforded by Rule 26-1c, is not available (*but see the note at the end of this email).

Where a hazard changes status, from a water hazard to a lateral water hazard, this should be indicated by a yellow stake and red stake placed side by side. This photo shows the hazard correctly defined.
This is the wording of Rule 26-1c relating to the additional options that are available if a player's ball last crossed the margin of a lateral water hazard;
"As additional options available only if the ball last crossed the margin of a lateral water hazard, drop a ball outside the water hazard within two club-lengths of and not nearer the hole than (i) the point where the original ball last crossed the margin of the water hazard or (ii) a point on the opposite margin of the water hazard equidistant from the hole."
* In the photo above it would appear that the player would not benefit from the additional option for a lateral water hazard of being able to drop within two club lengths of where the ball last crossed the margin of the hazard. However, in stroke play situations, where the player would like to choose this option and there is no member of the Committee available to make a decision as to where the lateral water hazard commences, the player should play two balls, under Rule 3-3, announcing which ball he wants to count. At the end of the round, he must then report the facts to the Committee and ask them to rule which of the two balls counts under the Rules of Golf.
Another 'Rhodes Rules School' Q&A will follow next week,

Good golfing,
The above content is strictly copyright to Barry Rhodes 2011/12 and may not be copied without permission.

If you have found these questions interesting then why not follow my blog on the Rules of Golf at