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Dreaded 10 could have been avoided

Q. Last week while playing, my tee shot ended up in a lateral water hazard. I thought I could play it and proceeded to hit the ball out of bounds. My fellow competitor said the only option I now had was to drop a ball stroke and distance in the lateral water hazard from where I had just played from. Was that the only thing I could have done? I ended up taking a 10 on the hole because of having to drop back into the hazard. — Jenna Williams

A. You had some other options that might have been better to use and you may have been able to avoid the dreaded 10. When you play from a water hazard or lateral water hazard and go out of bounds, one of your options is to come back under stroke and distance and drop a ball from where you just played from.

If you don’t want to drop a ball at the original spot you played from within the hazard you may use Rule 26 and drop a ball outside the hazard but it will cost you an additional penalty stroke. That would be two penalty strokes in all, one for Rule 27-1 and one for Rule 26-2b. This may have been the way to go.

Q. If my ball is overhanging the lip of the hole how long do I have to wait to let it drop into the hole? — Steve Levis

A. You are allowed enough time to reach the hole without unreasonable delay and an additional 10 seconds to determine whether the ball is at rest. If by then the ball has not fallen into the hole, it is deemed to be at rest. If the ball subsequently falls into the hole, the player is deemed to have holed out with his last stroke and must add a penalty stroke to his score for the hole.


Sue May is a U.S. Open rules official. She is also a member of the USGA Senior Women’s committee, tournament director of the Trans National Golf Tournament and head rules director for the Butch Harmon Vegas Tour. Address your rules questions to smay@cox.net.

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