Friday, December 3, 2010

Ask Linda #260-Bunker next to water hazard

Hi Linda,
We have a couple of bunkers that end at a lake. If you go in one of these bunkers and your ball rolls into the water, do you have to drop in the bunker or do you go to the nearest point of relief out from either hazard?
Have a good winter, Linda.

Dear Lulu,

The answer depends on whether the lake is a water hazard or a lateral water hazard, and on which relief option you choose. Let’s look at both situations.

1. Water hazard (yellow stakes)
You have two relief options. You may return to where you last played to hit your next shot, or you may drop a ball behind the hazard on the line-of-sight to the hole. If you choose the line-of-sight option, you may drop your ball on that line as far back as you want. That drop may be taken in or out of the bunker – the choice is yours. Either way, you will add one penalty stroke to your score.

2. Lateral water hazard (red stakes)
You have three relief options for a ball in a lateral hazard. The first two are the same as those listed above for a water hazard, and the same explanation holds true. The third relief option for a ball in a lateral hazard is to drop a ball within two-club-lengths of the point where the original ball last crossed the margin of the hazard. You may also drop a ball on the other side of the hazard that is the same distance from the hole. In either case, you must drop the ball no closer to the hole, and don’t forget to tack on that one-stroke penalty.
If you choose the two-club-length option, then it is entirely possible that you will be dropping a ball in the bunker. Two club-lengths is two club-lengths; there is no getting around that. If you prefer not to drop in the bunker, then choose one of the other two relief options (go back to where you hit your last shot, or drop behind the hazard on the line-of-sight to the hole).

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