Monday, January 8, 2018

Ask Linda #1672-Ball unplayable in bunker

Playing a round of golf my ball was embedded under the lip of a bunker offering no chance to be played based on the severity of the slope on all sides of the bunker. I declared the ball unplayable and dropped the ball in the bunker at a point of nearest relief no closer to the hole. A discussion with my fellow golfers led us to ask the question of placing or dropping the ball in a hazard. One stated you could place it, the other said it must be dropped. Whether in the edge of a lake or in a bunker the drop may cause the ball to become embedded and thus unplayable again. What do we do?
Lou from Wilmington, North Carolina

Dear Lou,

Relief for a ball unplayable in a bunker is not “nearest point of relief.”

When you declare your ball unplayable in a bunker, you have three relief options, all of which will add one penalty stroke to your score:

1. Play a ball under stroke and distance; or
2. Drop a ball in the bunker, on the flagline; or
3. Drop a ball in the bunker, within two club-lengths, no closer to the hole [Rule 28].

If you suspect you will have a difficult lie in the bunker if you drop the ball, it might be best to choose the stroke-and-distance relief option.

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