USGA – Rules You Should Know

OFFICIAL GOLF RULES

Ball Lost or Out of Bounds
(No Water)
Summary
Penalty is Stroke and Distance

Considered one of the most severe penalties in golf.
Shoot again from the same spot and take a penalty stroke.
For example;
If this was your tee shot, you are now shooting your 3rd shot,
from the same tee box.
Also below see;  Water Ball / Provisional
 

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Hitting a Provisional Ball 

Summary

A provisional ball is hit just in case you can’t find your
original shot, but think it may have stayed inbound. 
If the original shot is found, you MUST play
the original shot.  If not found, you then play the
provisional ball (plus the one stroke penalty).

Hitting a provisional helps keep up pace of play.


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Water Hazards and Penalties

Summary

There are two different types of water hazards. Regular water hazards marked with yellow stakes, and Lateral water hazards marked with red stakes.

Yellow stakes or line – you have two options. Either play stroke and distance, or drop anywhere behind on a straight line to flag where your ball entered the water for a one stroke penalty.

Red stakes or line – you have 4 options all of which are a one stroke penalty. One is stroke and distance. Two is a lateral straight line to the pin from where you think you went out. Three is a two club measure and drop from where the hazard begins. Four is same as three but from the other side of the hazard.


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Hitting Another Ball While Putting

Summary
If you putt a ball and it hits another ball on the
putting green, it is a two stroke penalty on you.

Ask the person to spot their ball.  In a perfect world, everyone on the
green should have marked their ball.  In any event, if you putt and
hit a ball; it will cost you two strokes.



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The Unplayable Lie

Summary
If your ball is in a bush, next to a tree, or has a similar unplayable shot.  You have three different options. All of these options involve a 1 stroke penalty.

Option 1  Two Club Lengths (no closer to the hole)
Option 2  Straight line (from the hole as far back as you want)
Option 3  Stroke & distance (if you are unable to use 1 or 2 above)