The golden rule of golf is to always play the ball where it lies. It seems simple enough, yes.
Entire courses were designed to make this principle as difficult to follow as possible, with hazards sprinkled liberally throughout the terrain. There are several kinds of hazards encountered during a game of golf—obstructive forests, fast-flowing streams, shallow yet difficult lakes, rough patches of uncut grass, and those awful, awful sand traps.
The entire point of pre-game prep, from measuring the strength of the stroke to the type of the club used to estimating the speed and direction of the prevailing wind on that day, is that all plays a role in improving the likelihood of the ball landing as far away from a hazard as possible. The difficulty of each hole in a course is measured through the number of hazards that stand in the way and how much planning goes into missing each one.
The most common of these hazards, of which specific rules govern their use, are water and sand traps. As my grandson Jace learned early on, they are incredibly frustrating to play through (been there, done that, kiddo). Yet, the rules play on, give or take a few penalized exceptions, and wherever a ball lands, one must play it there.
In water hazards, a player is not allowed to remove any obstructions wherever the ball lands and must play it there regardless. When playing a ball in the water, you may not bring any artificial aid to help you play through, though, to everyone’s relief, you can remove your socks and shoes.