A lot of players don’t know all their options when their ball goes in the water. Three options for either red or yellow staked hazards are the same and for the red staked hazard there are two extra options.
The first three options are that you can always replay from where the previous stroke was played from, you can play the ball as it lies (cannot ground your club in the hazard or move any loose impediments) and you can go back as far as you want keeping the flagstick and the point where the ball last crossed the margin of the hazard in line and drop the ball on that line.
When you have a Lateral Water Hazard (red stakes) there are two extra options. One option is dropping a ball within two club lengths of where the ball last crossed the margin of the hazard and no closer to the hole. The last option is one not known by a lot of players and that is, to drop within two club lengths on the opposite side of the hazard that is equidistant to the hole. A good example of this one that I use a fair bit is on Premiere Hole #14 where the ball goes into the pond from the left side. You can then find a spot on the opposite margin (cart path side) that is the same distance from the hole as where the ball last crossed the hazard on the left and measure out two club lengths and drop no closer to the hole and by doing this most of the water hazard is taken out of play for the next shot. One other thing with the drop is that the ball can roll up to two club lengths from where it first touches the ground as long as it doesn’t roll back into the hazard and not closer to the hole than where the two club lengths was measured. If it’s a drop where you have gone back in line with the flagstick the ball can actually roll forward from the drop not more than two club lengths and not back into the water hazard.
It’s never fun going into a water hazard but sometimes the rules can help.
OVGA Rules Chairman