Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Ask Linda #1202-Ball embedded in new turf in face of bunker

Hi Linda, 
Can you enlighten me on this particular situation? At our course all the bunkers have been newly turfed on the perimetre. One of the guys I was playing with thinned his shot and the ball ended up plugged in the face of the bunker, not actually in the sand. Our local winter rule states that any ball plugged on the course, whether in the rough or fairway, can be lifted and dropped. In this case the main question is would the ball be deemed in the bunker? Although this area is GUR, would he have to drop the ball inside the bunker? 
Looking forward to your reply,
Lou from Wales, UK 

Dear Lou,

There are two Rules in play here, Lou, one of which will override the other. Let’s look at each of them, plus the Definition of “Bunker.”

By Definition, grass-covered ground in a bunker is not part of the bunker. Thus, a ball embedded in new turf on the perimeter is not in the bunker. Relief will be outside the bunker.

The Local Rule in effect at your course provides free relief for a ball embedded “through the green.” The ball under discussion does not lie in the bunker, so the player is entitled to a free drop under Rule 25-2. The ball may be cleaned when lifted, and the drop must be as close as possible to where it was embedded, no closer to the hole.

However, you have stated that the newly-turfed areas are deemed Ground Under Repair (GUR). This designation makes sense – no greenkeeper wants the golfers to take divots out of freshly-laid sod. Since the ball lies in GUR, Rule 25-1 overrides 25-2, and relief will be within one club-length of the nearest point of relief outside the GUR, no closer to the hole. The player may not drop in the bunker [Rule 25-1b].

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