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Bunkers, Water Hazards, Lateral Water Hazards, Penalty Areas
|Clubs and Balls||
When the first definition came in 1891 it included almost anything that hindered a fair lie....any bunker, water, sand, loose earth, mole hills, paths, roads or railways, whins, bushes, rushes, rabbit scrape, fences, ditches or anything which is not the ordinary green of the course.
In subsequent issues of the Rules, the definition was narrowed; 1899 dropped loose earth, mole hills and anything not 'the ordinary green'.
In 1952 the new definition of a hazard became any bunker, water (except casual water), or water hazard.
1968 GUR and WH margins extend upwards.
2019 Water hazards no longer exist. They are now 'Penalty Areas'.
1858 For a ball in a bunker, no 'impression' could be made before striking, indicating the principle of not grounding the club.
Defining the extent of hazards became the committee's responsibility from 1933.
The principle of dealing with a ball in a water hazard comes from the original rules. In 1744, a ball among water or 'wattery filth' may be lifted and teed behind, penalty one stroke. 1754 St Andrews altered the procedure slightly, asking the player to throw the ball behind 6 yards at least, rather than tee it.
1809 HCEG had a slightly different relief procedure - tee behind and play with an iron, no penalty.
1812 St Andrews adopted the half-covered criterion, and now may tee the ball behind the hazard.
1875 the ball only needed to be 'in water'; tee behind in line where ball entered water or play it as it lies. The ball may be changed.
1882 ball lifted out of water is now dropped, not teed.
1902 in water in a hazard, or in casual water in a hazard, a ball may be dropped in or behind the hazard, under penalty of one stroke.
1933 New options: drop in or behind the hazard on a line from the hole, or stroke and distance, but from the tee only. However, as a ball could be declared unplayable at any place on the course, a stroke and distance option had been available from 1920 - actually 2 strokes and distance - but not if the ball was lost in the water hazard.
1950 Options now distance only (now not just from the tee), or under a one stroke penalty, either in the hazard, or within two club lengths behind, on a line from the hole.
1952 Options changed again: now either stroke and distance or drop behind the hazard on a line from the hole. Provisional ball allowed for a ball possibly lost in a water hazard. Rescinded in 1960 USGA; 1964 R&A.
1984 Relief denied for interference by an obstruction or hole, cast or runway within a water hazard.
2000 additionally no relief from GUR.
From 1947 (USGA) 'reasonable evidence' required in order to proceed under the water hazard rule.
Lateral Water Hazards
Thistle 1824 offered an option "where he cannot get behind the hazard without going off the green, he shall be entitled to drop his ball on the green, in a line with the place where it lay".
1902 If it be impossible to drop the ball behind the hazard or casual water, it shall be dropped as near as possible to the place where it lay, but not nearer the hole.
1947 (USGA) said "It is impossible to lay down exact rules to govern always the play of a ball which lies in a water hazard and so local rules should be made when they are required to determine the proper procedure".
The 1952 definition of a lateral water hazard was that it ran approximately parallel to line of play, and that for a ball dropped with two club lengths of the point of entry, it is not possible to keep the hazard between the ball and the hole. Relief options were stroke and distance, or within two club lengths of either margin. (The option of dropping back on a line was not offered, presumably as it was not possible to use it otherwise the hazard did not satisfy the definition.)
1954 redefined to being not feasible to drop behind the hazard, much like today's definition.
1956 the 1952 definition reinstated, without the two club lengths requirement. Now all relief options offered.
1976 "parallel to line of play" dropped.
1988 now defined as "part of a water hazard so situated that it is not possible or is deemed by the Committee to be impracticable to drop a ball behind the water hazard in accordance with rule 26-1b".