Golf Penalty Strokes

A penalty is usually incurred when the ball comes to rest in a location that does not allow the player to take the next stroke and requires the ball to be moved for play to continue. Examples are when the ball lands out of bounds, lands in a water hazard or is considered lost and a substitute is played. Penalties may also be given for a range of other offences.

Typically a penalty is added as a single stroke to a golfer’s score. Should a player drive their first stroke out of bounds, they must retake that stroke from the tee, with their second stroke being recorded as their third. In cases of more serious infractions such as cheating a player may be disqualified from the game.

When a ball lands in a hazard and needs to be dropped it must be done so behind the hazard on the plane of a straight line from the pin to the location where the ball first passed into the hazard area.

Some hazards, such as ditches run down the length of the fairway towards the green. These are known as lateral or red hazards and don’t allow the ball to be dropped as described above. In this instance the ball must be dropped no closer to the hole and within two club lengths of the point where the ball entered the hazard.

There is an additional type of hazard known as Ground Under Repair or GUR. This is a patch of the course which has been damaged and has been cordoned off to allow time for it to be repaired. Should a player's ball be found in GUR they are allowed to take a drop as per above, but without incurring a penalty.