Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Ask Linda #759-Ball in bush in bunker


Our course has some bunkers that have bushes within the bunker. If a ball lands in one of these bushes it is often unplayable and sometimes lost. My question is twofold:
1.    With the unplayable rule option in a bunker of dropping two club lengths, I know it must be dropped in the bunker. But if unplayable ball is in the bush and two club lengths could take you outside the bunker can it be dropped there?
2.    If all players, or at least your cart partner, see the ball land in a bush within a bunker but then it cannot be found, is there an option to drop the ball two club lengths from where everyone thought it entered the bush (as one does when ball enters a lateral water hazard) or must the player return to the place where she hit the previous shot?

Lulu from New Jersey

Dear Lulu,

Grass-covered ground within a bunker is not part of the bunker. Also, the margin of a bunker does not extend upwards [Definition of “Bunker”]. Since a bush would come under the broad definition of “grass-covered ground,” and a ball in a bush is above the ground, a ball that is in a bush in a bunker is not in the bunker [Decision 13/2].

Question #1:
If you select the two-club-length relief option for an unplayable ball, the ball must be dropped within two club-lengths no closer to the hole. The player may drop her ball anywhere within that prescribed area, which may be in or out of the bunker.

Question #2:
Bushes do not qualify as an “Abnormal Ground Condition” – they are a common occurrence on a golf course. If a player is unable to find her ball, she has a lost ball and must proceed under stroke and distance.

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