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  1. #1
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    Water hazard query

    Assistance required please.

    Yesterday, in the monthly medal comp, on the 2nd l hit my drive about 200yds towards a small pond, left of fairway - which is sort of square-ish in shape. The ball was curving left and l thought it was about to stop just short of the edge, but it appeared to just reach the fairway-side rear corner of the pond. Fellow competitor A says "that's gone in - just on the corner". FC B says "yeah, l think so". I have a forlorn hope it might have trickled just round the corner of the pond but view is obscured by some reeds. We go to look for it.

    On the fairway side of the pond, grass is fairway height right up to the hazard margin. Behind it (ie the green side of it) grass is first cut length. We look just behind the pond where the view had been obscured by the reeds in the corner of the pond. Ball is not there. "Nah, it went in here" says FC A again, pointing at the corner. We look but water is deep and a bit murky. If it's in there, you wont see it. So we agree the reference point for the drop (based on red stakes), l drop a ball & play it and walk on.

    And l then find the original, 20yds further on, just in the light rough. On a line with where FC A had said it went in, but much further on than any of us realistically believed possible. So what to do?

    FCs A & B both say i have to continue with the dropped ball. But l say the position of the found original means I've done something wrong but am not sure what. By playing the dropped ball either played a wrong ball or played from a wrong place? Is the found original the right ball/right place? (Nb: all happened within the 5mins). A quick look at rule book doesn't especially help clarify things. So we decide l should play out with both balls under 3.3. I elect to score with the dropped ball if allowable and add 2 penalty shots to the score with the original for having played a stroke at a wrong ball or from a wrong place. (In the end, the score was same with both balls).

    So... what was the correct procedure? I now think l know but a view from our resident experts would be appreciated.

    Ps: i ve put the query to H&C committee and have till Monday morning before i have to submit the card.
    Last edited by backwoodsman; 03-Sep-2017 at 05:22.
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  2. #2
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    Re: Water hazard query

    Firstly, you played a ball from the side of the hazard before finding your original and deciding to use Rule 3-3. You cannot actually invoke 3-3 as you have to do so when the doubtful situation arises and before taking any action:
    To proceed under this Rule, [you] must decide to play two balls after the doubtful situation has arisen and before taking further action

    In my view, the doubtful situation was whether you had virtual certainty. The two courses of action under 3-3 would be to drop and play one ball beside the lateral water hazard under Rule 26-1 and to play another ball from the tee under Rule 27-1a and let the Committee decide whether you had virtual certainty or not. By taking the first course of action and only invoking 3-3 when you found the original, you were too late. The good news is that mistakenly playing the original ball under 3-3 doesn't cost you anything.

    That means we're only dealing with the ball substituted at the side of the water hazard. In the first place, your Committee will have to decide whether you had virtual certainty that your ball was lost in the hazard. Your description does not suggest to me that you had, but that's just from your words not from seeing the location.

    1) If you did not have virtual certainty, you should have continued searching for your original ball and either found it within 5 minutes and carried on or put another ball into play from the tee (stroke and distance for a lost ball). Instead of putting the ball in play back on the tee, you did so from beside the hazard. That was a wrong place and given that it is some 200 yards from where you should have played from, is without doubt a "serious breach" (i.e. you gained a significant advantage from it). The penalty for that, as the error wasn't corrected, is disqualification.

    2) If it were decided that you did have virtual certainty, all is well. You determined where the ball last crossed the margin of the pond as best you could and dropped accordingly. As above, there was no penalty for playing the original ball mistakenly under 3-3. You play out the hole with a 1 stroke penalty for relief from the lateral water hazard.

  3. #3
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    Re: Water hazard query

    Colin gave an excellent analysis, but your fate was sealed when you dropped a ball. It became the ball in play even if you were mistaken about the facts. See R.15-2. You substituted a ball according to rule 26. The original was dead.

  4. #4
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    Re: Water hazard query

    An interesting one looking at Colin's analysis.
    I don't share it because in my opinion the doubtful situation occurred when the original ball was found; at that point you don't know whether you should continue with that or continue with the ball dropped under 26. As such I don't see a problem with invoking 3 - 3 and, agree with atticusf that once you had agreed that you had virtual certainty that the ball was in the hazard and played under 26 the fact that you subsequently found the original ball outside the hazard is irrelevant - it's lost.
    That Colin doubts that you had virtual certainty isn't relevant to the application of 3-3, only the eventual ruling by the committee.
    Whilst I do agree that it's impossible to make that final ruling on the basis of what's written here alone I would be minded that you didn't go and search the area that the ball was in because you believed it was in the hazard. You also make no reference to having spent 5 mins looking before coming to this conclusion. Both factors would support the honest and fair conclusion that the ball was in the hazard IMO.

  5. #5
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    Re: Water hazard query

    Thanks all.

    Just to clarify a couple of things raised by Duncan.

    Correct that we didnít look anywhere in the vicinity of where original was eventually discovered. We had no thought that it had gone anywhere near there. At best we thought that if it hadn't gone into the hazard, then it had only just gone past by a couple of yards - giving a very small area in which to look.

    And also correct that we didnít seach for the full 5 minutes - for the same reason. Our belief was that if it was not within a very few square yards, then it was in the water. (In fact we looked, l took the drop, played it, and walked on and then discovered the original, all within the 5 mins)

    And finally as regards "doubtful situation" and use of 3.3 - as far as we were concerned there was no doubt in our minds at all. Not until the point of discovering the original. Only then did we have a doutful situation. Even then, both FCs didnít really think there was doubt - we thought it was in water, we were sure where it crosed margin and dropped accordingly. Therefore l should play the dropped ball. It was me suggesting that the now found original showed l had done something wrong. So the doubt was , we found the original in less than 5min, it wasn't in the hazard, so was l wrong to have dropped & played and should l continue with original? (What l should have considered but didn't was - "or should I do something else entirely")

    For info - l've been told by H&C rep that in the circumstances we had adequate grounds to assume KOVC and so drop was legit (and rendered the original lost). So no DQ for serious breach of uncorrected "wrong place" but no real diference in outcome - I came last in any case

    The one thing that still surprises me is how wrong we were in our judgement of where the ball actually was. We were all sure it had only just made it to the water, or had crept past by a yard or two at most. Moral is never assume - and look comprehensively in a wider area than you think before making a decision.
    Last edited by backwoodsman; 06-Sep-2017 at 04:35.
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  6. #6
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    Re: Water hazard query

    The question that was asked in a different thread if I recall correctly.

    "If you have to look comprehensively in a wider area how can you use the virtual certainty rule as, by explanation you've no real clue where the ball has gone"
    removed list of clubs as they change too frequently !

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  7. #7
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    Re: Water hazard query

    Quote Originally Posted by chrisd View Post
    The question that was asked in a different thread if I recall correctly.

    "If you have to look comprehensively in a wider area how can you use the virtual certainty rule as, by explanation you've no real clue where the ball has gone"
    Isn't this much the same situation Poulter was in, when he played the 8th hole at Quail Hollow during the final round August 13th
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