No.6 Stakes Defining Margins

Question 1:  In the photo above the ball is touching the stake;
a) Is it in the lateral water hazard?
b) May the player remove the red stake to play his ball?
c) If the stake is removed, is the hole in which the stake was previously located a "hole made by a greenkeeper" and thus ground under repair?

a) Yes, as part of the ball is touching the stake it is in the hazard. Definition of Lateral Water Hazard.

b) Yes, stakes used to define the margin of or identify a water hazard are obstructions and may be removed, providing to do so does not take unreasonable effort. Definition of Lateral Water Hazard.
c) Yes. However, such a hole is in the water hazard and a player is not entitled to relief from ground under repair in a water hazard. Decision 25/18.

Note: Whilst the Rules permit easily movable stakes to be moved, some course committees introduce a Local Rule defining them as immovable Obstructions. This is often because golfers who move them forget to replace them, or may put them back in the wrong place.
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Question 2: In the photo above the ball is touching the stake;
a) Is it out of bounds?
b) May the player remove the white stake to play his ball?
c) May the player stand out of bounds to play a ball that is within bounds?

a) No, a ball is only out of bounds when all of it lies out of bounds. Definition of Out of Bounds.
b) No, stakes identifying out of bounds are not obstructions and are deemed to be fixed. Definition of Out of Bounds.
c) Yes, a player may stand out of bounds to play a ball lying within bounds. Definition of Out of Bounds.

Note: You will have seen that the Rules for water hazard stakes (yellow and red) are completely different from those for out of bounds stakes (white). It is worth reading the definitions of Water Hazards and Out of Bounds (in fact, all of the definitions) at the front to the Rules book.

Another 'Rhodes Rules School' Q&A will follow next week,

Good golfing,

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