How to Score Common Golf Penalty Shots

By John Steinbreder

Part of 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.