1. Lost Balls - The average golfer loses 1.3 golf balls per round played. While this may not seem like a lot, it can add up depending on how many times you golf. If a ball is lost on the initial tee shot, the player will incur 1 stroke penalty, and will be allowed to re-tee and hit a provisional ball. If a ball is lost after the tee shot on a normal shot from the fairway or the rough, players are allowed to look for it, and as long as it is not out of bounds. If the player cannot find the ball, they can hit a provisional from their original shot spot incurring a 1 stroke penalty, or if the ball is found but out of bounds, the player can take a drop in bounds from the same distance the ball travelled, but will also incur a 1 stroke penalty.
2. Yellow Marked Water Hazards - The next type of hazard that a golfer could face on the course is a water hazard. Water hazards are categorized by two markers: a yellow marker or line, and a red marker or line. For a yellow marked water hazard, the player has the three options for their next shot. The first option to play the shot where it lies (which is rarely possible) with no stroke penalty. The club is allowed to be grounded, and the player can move any loose impediments to hit the shot. The second option is to take a 1 stroke penalty and play the shot where the player took the original stroke. The final option is to take a drop at the point from where the ball crossed over the yellow marker or line. The player is allowed to move back in a straight line from the spot as far as they would like, but will also incur a 1 stroke penalty.
3. Red Marked Water Hazards - Red marked water hazards are very similar, yet a little different than yellow marked water hazards. With red marked or lined water hazards, the player also has three options to choose from. Like the yellow marked water hazards, the first two rulings are the same. The player has the option to play the golf ball where it lies with no stroke penalty, and is allowed to move any loose impediments obstructing the shot. The player also has the option to take a 1 stroke penalty and play the shot from where the original stroke was made from. The final option is the player will be allowed to take a drop from the point where the golf ball crossed the red marker or line. What makes this option slightly different compared to the yellow mark ruling is that the player will be allowed to drop the golf ball within two club lengths of the point where the ball crossed. However, this option will also incur a 1 shot penalty.
4. Bunkers - Let’s face it, no golfer really ever likes to be hitting from the bunker. The sand makes it a difficult surface to hit the ball out of, and there are certain rules you have to follow when you are stuck in the beach. First, you are not allowed to ground the club while taking the shot, as the only time the club can hit the sand is during the motion of your shot. Previously, you were not allowed to move any loose impediments in the bunker, but with the new rule change, you are now allowed to move any loose impediments obstructing your shot in the sand. You are also not allowed to take a practice swing in the bunker, as it can potentially move the sand where the ball is being played from. The player may not deliberately touch the sand to “get a feel for it,” or else it will result in a penalty. Finally, if the ball is deemed unplayable or in an unplayable area in the bunker, the player will be allowed to hit a provisional from the location of the original stroke, drop the ball within two club lengths from the shot still hitting from the bunker for a 1 stroke penalty, or drop the ball outside of the bunker, in line with two club lengths away from the bunker, for a 2 stroke penalty.