Friday, May 24, 2019

Ask Linda 1923-Ball embedded in wall of bunker

Dear Linda,
At a recent rules workshop a presenter stated that free relief was given for an embedded ball in the wall of a bunker. As I read it, relief may only be taken if the wall of the bunker is not sand. All the walls of bunkers on our course are sand.
I would appreciate your clarification.
Lulu from Australia

Dear Lulu,

Your understanding is correct.

You are only entitled to free relief if your ball is embedded in the general area [Rule 16.3a(1)]. Bunker walls that are sand are part of the bunker. No free relief is available for a ball embedded in sand in a bunker, as bunkers are not in the general area

The rules workshop presenter was referring to bunker walls that consist of soil, grass, stacked turf, or artificial materials. Such walls are not part of the bunker. They are in the general area, and free relief is available for an embedded ball.

Please note this clarification that was published in December 2018:
If your ball is embedded at the very base of a bunker wall that is not sand, the spot right behind the ball is in the bunker, and no part of the relief area not closer to the hole and within one club-length of that spot (or reference point) is in the general area, you are not entitled to free relief.

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