RULE: Temporary Water in Bunker

With all this heavy rain, this is happening so often now - what are my options if my ball is in a bunker full of water?

Do I have to play this shot? Can I get free relief, or is there a penalty? If relief is available, where do I drop the ball - or do I place it? Why doesn't the Committee just rule the bunkers out of play, declare them 'in the General Area?

My ball lies at point A1, and I determine my reference point of complete relief (RPoCR), which is still in the bunker. Rule 16.1c tells me that:

 "If your ball is in a bunker, and there is interference by an abnormal course condition on the course, you may take  either:

 

  • Free relief under Rule 16.1b, except that
    >> The nearest point of complete relief and the relief area must be in the bunker.
    >> If there is no such nearest point of complete relief in the bunker, you may still take relief by using the point of maximum available relief in the bunker as the reference point."
  • Penalty Relief by playing from outside the bunker (back on the line relief) for a one stroke penalty.
The diagram 16.1c in the Players Edition of the Rules makes it very clear.

 

OK, so I can drop the ball (not place) without penalty in the shaded area. Of course I cannot drop the ball into that part of the legal area which is still in the water.

What happens if my dropped ball rolls back into the water? Rule 14.3 tells us that you must redrop the ball if it rolls and comes to rest in a position where the interference by the condition from which you just took relief (in this case, temporary water).

This is so complicated! Wouldn't it be simpler if the Committee just declared the flooded bunkers out of play? 

Golf is simple - the rules aren't! The Rules do not allow the committee to make a local rule providing generally that flooded bunkers are ground under repair in the general area.

However in extreme circumstances where specific bunker/s are completely flooded prior to a competition commencing and there is no reasonable chance of the bunker drying up during the comp, the committee may introduce a local rule to provide that a specific bunker or bunkers to be ground under repair and classified as in the general area. Only then may relief be taken outside the bunker without penalty in accordance with Rule 16.1b.

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