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How to Score Common Golf Penalty Shots

Part of the Golf Rules & Etiquette For Dummies Cheat Sheet

A stray shot in golf is frustrating, but it happens to the best golfers. Where the ball is hit makes a difference in how it is played and scored. Take a look at these common golf penalty shots and how to deal with them:

Penalty How to Score
Out-of-bounds 1-stroke penalty plus distance. Replay the ball from where it was just played (or tee up again if it was your first shot).
Unplayable lies 1-stroke penalty. Drop the ball within two club lengths of the original spot, no nearer to the hole. Or drop the ball as far back as you want, as long as you keep the original unplayable lie point between you and the hole. You may also return to the spot from which you played your original shot if you prefer.
Water hazard (yellow stakes) 1-stroke penalty. Play the ball as near as possible to the place from which the original shot was hit. Or drop a ball behind the water, as long as you keep the point at which the original ball crossed the edge of the water hazard directly between the hole and the spot on which the ball is dropped. There is no limit to how far behind the water hazard you can go with the ball.
Lateral water hazard (red stakes) 1- stroke penalty. Drop a ball outside the lateral hazard within two club lengths of where the ball went in, but not nearer to the hole. Or keep a point on the opposite edge of the water hazard equidistant from the hole.
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