Golf Tips for Beginners: Understanding Water Hazards

Golfing Water Hazard

Golfing Water Hazard

Like sand traps, water hazards are a challenge every golfer has to face when they play the game. The rules about working these difficult shots are pretty straight-forward, but exactly how to construct the shot and get back into the safety of the fairway or the green is a bigger pickle. That’s why we’ve got these basic tips for beginning golfers — next time you’re in the drink, maybe you’ll be able to get yourself out without taking four strokes to do it.

Red and Yellow Golf Hazards

First of all, you’ll need to understand the difference between those red and yellow lines around the hazards. The type of hazard you’ve crossed determines what strategic options you’ve got available.

The yellow lines and stakes mark a standard sort of water hazard, but the red ones indicate you’ve crossed a lateral water hazard. The rules in a lateral water hazard are a little different — you’ve got more options, which is great.

For both yellow and red hazards, you can play where the ball lies, provided you can find it, penalty-free. For an extra stroke, you can give the shot another try from where you originally hit the ball into the water or play the ball from anywhere behind an imaginary line drawn from the hole to the point where the ball crossed into the hazard.

Red lateral water hazards are cool in a few ways, and they allow for a few other options. In addition to allowing you to play the same as any regular water hazard, a red hazard lets you play the ball from within two club lengths of the point where the ball crossed into the water hazard. It gets even better, though — you can also hit the ball from within two club lengths from a point exactly as far from the hole as where the ball crossed the hazard on the opposite side of the hazard.

How To Take a Shot from the Water

Extracting your ball from a water hazard is hairy business, but it can be done if you’re careful and confident. Before you ever decide to try this, though, make sure the ball is at least half way out of the water — after all, if you touch the water’s surface or the ground nearby, you’ll incur a two-stroke penalty under Rule 13-4.

To take a shot from a water hazard, you want to use the same type of shot you’d use for a bunker. Open up your stance, square up the clubface and focus on a spot about an inch and a half behind the ball — then whack it for all it’s worth. You’ll likely have to use a shorter club to achieve this little miracle.

Whether you’re staring down a wet weather creek or a giant pond in the middle of the course, you need the right gear to take the shots that will make you a legend at the 19th hole. Check out the huge selection of new and used golf clubs from brands like Titleist, TaylorMade and Callaway at — you’d save a ton of money and maybe your golf game, too!

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