Every year, the USGA Rules Department answers thousands of inquiries about the Rules of Golf. The questions come from golf associations, golf professionals, clubs, Committees in charge of competitions and players at every level of the game. In 2016, more than 11,000 inquiries were answered by our staff.
Last week, we reviewed the Rules that were addressed the most frequently during the USGA’s 2016 Open championships. Let’s take a look now at the Rules that generated the most questions to the USGA inquiry service.
Here are the five Rules that generated the most inquiries in 2016.
- Rule 26-1 – Relief for Ball in Water Hazard (approximately 400 inquiries in 2016): While we all try to avoid water hazards, every golfer’s ball will eventually find one. A common question we received in 2016 was whether a player may proceed under the flagline drop option (covered in Rule 26-1b) when their ball is in a lateral water hazard. This Rule allows a player, under penalty of one stroke, to drop a ball behind the water hazard, keeping the point the ball last crossed the hazard margin between the hole and the spot where the ball is dropped. We like to call this the flagline option, and it is available for lateral water hazards as well as water hazards.
Our “Rules of Golf Explained” video below provides several examples of how a player can take relief from a water hazard.