RULE: Casual 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 'thru the green'?

My ball lies at point A1, and I determine my nearest point of relief (NPoR), which is still in the bunker. Rule 25 tells me that:

 "If the ball is in a bunker, the player must lift the ball and drop it without penalty within one club length of and not nearer the hole than this point, except that the ball must be dropped in the bunker."

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 20 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, casual water).

There is another option - but this one has a price!!

Rule 25 goes on to say that if your ball is in casual water in the bunker (as A1 or A2) "under penalty of one stroke, drop a ball outside the bunker keeping the point where the ball lay in the bunker directly between the hole and the spot on which the ball is dropped with no limit to how far behind the bunker the ball may be dropped." (See line x-y for ball A1 or line x-z for ball A2) in the photo.

Sometimes, after a really heavy downpour, the bunker may be completely filled with water, and there is no place to get relief in the bunker. Surely now I can drop free outside the bunker??

No - the rule is fairly tough here. Rule 25 b(ii) says ... "if complete relief is impossible, drop the ball as near as possible to the spot to the spot where the ball lay, but not nearer the hole on a part of the course in the bunker that affords maximum available relief from the condition." Decisions from the R&A refer to water in the bunker that is "shallower" than where your ball originally lay!

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

Golf is simple - the rules aren't! Rule 33 (The Committee) does not allow the committee to make a local rule providing generally that flooded bunkers are ground under repair through the green.

However in extreme circumstances where specific bunker/s are completelyflooded 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 through the green. Only then may relief be taken outside the bunker without penalty in accordance with Rule 25-1b(i).

 

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