Golf Rules can be very confusing and one in particular is red and yellow stakes round a water hazard.

The Red Stakes show a lateral hazard – find out more about the difference between stakes with our water hazard video.


What’s the difference between yellow and red stakes?

As for those water hazard options, these will vary according to the colour of the stakes or lines defining the water hazard, which are yellow for a normal water hazard and red for a lateral one (i.e. one that predominantly flanks the side of the hole rather than a hazard that your ball might more typically have to cross en route towards the green).

If your ball is in a water hazard (yellow stakes and/or lines) you may play it as it lies or, under penalty of one stroke:

If your ball is in a lateral water hazard (red stakes and/or lines), in addition to the options for a ball in a water hazard, under penalty of one stroke, you may drop a ball within two club-lengths of, and not nearer the hole than:

* the point where the ball last crossed the margin of the lateral water hazard, or

* a point on the opposite side of the lateral water hazard equidistant to the hole from the point where the ball last crossed the margin.

The diagram below illustrates your options on finding a lateral water hazard.

Lateral hazard diagram