What Golfers Mean When Discussing 'Water Holes'

Golfer teeing off on a water hole

"Water hole" is a term that many golfers use to indicate that the hole under discussion includes a water feature — pond, stream, lake, river, ditch, whatever — somewhere on the hole. When recreational golfers are talking "water holes," we are usually doing so because we believe that water feature is a water hazard.

If you are a golfer who is a high-handicapper or infrequent player, water holes are ones that you probably watch out for around a golf course. You might even dread water holes that you know are waiting ahead. Water hazards swallow up a lot of wayward golf balls, after all.

The water on a water hole might be directly across the line of play, requiring a golfer to carry a shot across it. Or the water feature might run alongside a hole. And if a golfer is prone to slicing or hooking, the water to the left or right of the fairway or green is just as much a danger.

Golfers who aren't confident in their abilities might carry "water balls" in their golf bags. Those are usually lower-quality golf balls a golfer pulls out when she reaches a water hole — you don't want to risk losing that shiny, new expensive ball you just bought, after all.

So from a golf course architecture standpoint, a water hole is any hole that includes a water feature. Colloquially, particularly among golfers prone to losing balls, a water hole is one where such hazards come into play and where they are particularly at danger of hitting into the water.

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Photo credit: Photo by Courtney Cook on Unsplash

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