Red Stakes/Lines: Water Hazard
You always have the option to play the ball as it lies from within the hazard at no penalty.
Assuming you can’t play the ball from where you found it, each option from a water hazard comes with a one stroke penalty. You also have the option to go back to the point where you played your last shot, and play from there.
If neither of these two options are desirable, you’ll need to note the point where your ball last crossed into the margin of the hazard. Crossed the hazard, NOT WHERE IT LANDED in the hazard. Meaning if you hit the ball towards a hazard and it crosses 20 yards in from of you, it may land 200 hazards out but you must drop based on it crossing 20 yards up.
The line of the hazard extends vertically upward, so if your ball was in the air, try to figure out this point as best you can. In both varieties of hazards, you have the option to take the flagstick, and the point where your ball last cross into the hazard, and move back on a straight line away from the hole as far as you like. You can choose to drop your ball at any point on this line, of course incurring a one stroke penalty.
Red Stakes/Lines: Lateral Water Hazard
In a red, or lateral hazard, you have 2 additional options available to you. The first, and perhaps the most common, is to take the point where your ball last crossed into the hazard, and drop within two club lengths of this point, no closer to the hole. The fifth and final option in a red hazard, is to take a point, equidistant from the point where your ball last crossed into the hazard, but on the opposite side of the hazard, and drop within two club lengths from there. This option is rarely used, but it’s always beneficial for a player to know the rules.