In 2019 the word ‘hazard’ will vanish from the Rules. So it’s goodbye to ‘water hazards’ and hello to the concept of ‘penalty areas’.
Players will have the same basic options for relief that exist under the current Rules. But – new for 2019 – when a ball is in a penalty area, players can touch or move loose impediments and touch the ground with hand or club. This includes grounding the club right behind the ball.
Reasons for change
The options to take relief back on a line behind any water hazard or within two club-lengths of where a ball entered a lateral water hazard have become important for pace of play. They mean the player can usually play from near the hazard, rather than having to go back some distance to play from where the previous stroke was made.