What Do Red, Yellow and White Stakes Mean on a Golf Course?

What Do Red, Yellow and White Stakes Mean on a Golf Course?

As you go around a golf course, you may notice three different colored stakes, but do you know what they actually mean? Well, you are going to learn everything you need to know about them in the next few minutes.

The truth is that they all have very specific roles to play, and the color does let us know what their job is going to be. So, let’s look at each one individually, in order to provide you with an explanation.

Red Stakes

golf red stake

First, we have the red stakes. This refers to the edge of a lateral water hazard, so you will probably see a few of them scattered around the course, depending on where you are playing.

With a lateral water hazard, what we are referring to is something that’s only going to come into play if you hit a bad shot. That’s because it runs alongside a hole, rather than being a direct obstacle to be overcome.

If you do land in this, then the idea of making you retake your shot from behind the point where it entered makes little sense. So, you can actually do one of several things with the penalty.

You can either try to take the shot from where it is, which makes even less sense since you are in water, or you can take a one-drop penalty and play from a drop that’s two club lengths away from the hazard. This is the preferred option.

Alternatively, you can drop the ball, but it has to be in line with where the ball entered the hazard. You are not allowed to drop the ball so that it’s closer to the pin either.

Yellow Stakes

golf red stake

When it comes to the yellow stakes, then this too indicates that you are coming into contact with a water hazard. At the same time, yellow stakes can be used to indicate a water hazard even if it doesn’t contain any water.

As with red stakes, there are certain rules you need to follow should your ball end up in the water. Also, the penalties and rules are quite similar between the red and yellow stakes.

In this instance, you can still go ahead and play your shot from inside the water hazard, which is easier when it contains no water, but that’s not the only option. However, the hard part about this shot is you are unable to rest the club or ground it before you make contact. That does make everything tougher on you.

You are also able to take a one-stroke penalty if you are unable to play it from wherever it lies. Even after that, you can then choose between one of two options.

First, you can take your ball back to where you last played from. Choosing this option will really depend on the lie of the ball, and also what you then face in front of you. If you landed in the hazard due to slicing or pulling your shot, then this may very well work for you.

The other option is to drop the ball in a line from where it entered the hazard. As like before, the ball cannot be ahead of where it went into the hazard, and it also cannot be any closer to the pin than when you landed in trouble.

At the same time, you can drop the ball back from the position where it went into the hazard. There’s nothing stopping you from dropping the ball far back from it, so we aren’t talking about two clubs lengths either.

White Stakes

golf white out of bounds stake

Finally, we have white stakes, and this is going to really spell disaster should you find yourself encountering these guys. That’s because white stakes indicate you have gone out of bounds, so if you fly past them, then you are in serious trouble.

When you run into this stake, you then have to take a particular penalty, which is known as a stroke and distance penalty. As you may guess, this involves two things, so it’s like a double hit that you are going to take.

With this, you first of all need to take a one-stroke penalty. Then, you need to take your shot again from the position where you last played. 

However, what happens if you go out of bounds off the tee? In that case, you will need to go back to the tee, and you are free to set up the tee in a different position if that’s what you would prefer. 

But there’s one other time when you may encounter white lines, and it’s not always going to be that bad.

On a golf course, white lines are used to indicate that there’s a drop zone or some ground is under repair. If you do land in this area, then you are not penalized for it. Instead, you are able to take a free drop from outside of the marked off area.

However, even with this, there are rules as to where the ball can be dropped. You need to make sure that it’s in line with where it entered into the area, or at the very least it must be behind the marked off section.

As like before, you are unable to move the ball forward and closer to the pin. That is never an option, no matter the hazard or stakes that you come across on the course.

Summing it All Up

These three different colored stakes play an important role in helping to identify hazards around the course, while also letting you know all about the different penalties that will occur should you end up interacting with the stakes. 

The hardest part is going to be in making sure that you do not fall foul of the laws when it comes to making the drop as your penalty. You need to be careful with the dropping part, and always make sure you have not gained even a fraction of a yard toward the pin. That would not be advisable, and it is also strongly against the rules.

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