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Flooded Bunker: Relief?

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Last Friday i played in a society day at a course i hadn't played before. I was playing pretty well and was looking to just play to my handicap.

On the 18th hole im looking to make par and i've played to my handicap. Its not a hard hole, relativley short, dogleg to the right. The person im playing with (who is a member at this course) say's that as long as i keep the ball in play off the tee i should be good. I hit my drive, in play.. perfect. I play my second shot into the green but leak it left and end up in a bunker. Now here's the problem..

The course is pretty soaked due to heavy rain and subsequently they have initiated "preferred lies" (lift, clean, replace). The bunker im in is completely flooded, literally no sand, just water. I know im allowed to take the ball and drop it back in the bunker into the sand, but there is none! its completely flooded. My thought was that because of the water i can take a drop without penalty out of the bunker due to the "casual water" rule. I do that play over the bunker and make par.

When i get in im told that i have incurred a 1 stroke penalty because i chose to take relief from the bunker and because the bunkers where all deemed in play i cant do that. Due to it already being a hazard i cant take relief due to the water.. That makes sense i agree but still...

Can someone clarify this ruling?

Was a little dissapointed because that bogey made me shot +1 over my handicap... :(

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Unless the Committee had declared the specific bunker to be GUR then your only practical option was to drop the ball Under penalty of one stroke , outside the bunker keeping the point where the ball lay 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.

If you did not drop it on that spot you will have played from a wrong place with a 2 stroke penalty.

But no Serious Breach problem

Rule 25-1b(ii) applies

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Thanks for clearing that up. I did in fact drop the ball about 3ft behind the bunker in line with the ball and the flag so a 1 stroke penalty was the justified penalty it looks like.

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For the OP, some additional information.

Casual water, as well as Ground Under Repair, fall under Abnormal Ground Conditions.  The committe ruled correctly because you can not drop outside a bunker due to an AGC without penalty.  Reason being the bunker does not lose it's status as a hazard, even when full of casual water.

The issue with all this is changing the status of the bunker from hazard to "though the green" and how to do it.

Decision 25/13 does say if a bunker is deemed to be total GUR, do to renovation , it loses it's status as a hazard, but the rules treat casual water differently.

25/13

Bunker Totally Under Repair

If a bunker is being renovated and the Committee defines the entire bunker as ground under repair, the bunker loses its status as a hazard and is automatically classified as "through the green." Therefore, unless a Committee specifically states otherwise, Rule 25-1b(i) applies, not Rule 25-1b(ii) .

What the committee needed to do is spelled out in Decision 33-8/27.

33-8/27

Local Rule Providing Relief Without Penalty from Bunker Filled with Casual Water

Q. May a Committee make a Local Rule allowing a player to drop out of any bunker filled with casual water, without penalty, contrary to Rule 25-1b(ii) ?

A. No. The Committee may not make a Local Rule providing generally that flooded bunkers are ground under repair through the green, as such a Local Rule waives a penalty imposed by the Rules of Golf, contrary to Rule 33-8b .

However, in exceptional circumstances, where certain specific bunkers are completely flooded and there is no reasonable likelihood of the bunkers drying up during the round, the Committee may introduce a Local Rule providing relief without penalty from specific bunkers. Prior to introducing such a Local Rule, the Committee must be convinced that such exceptional circumstances exist and that providing relief without penalty from specific bunkers is more appropriate than simply applying Rule 25-1b(ii) . If the Committee elects to introduce a Local Rule, the following wording is suggested:

"The flooded bunker on [insert location of bunker; e.g., left of 5th green] is ground under repair. If a player's ball lies in that bunker or if that bunker interferes with the player's stance or the area of his intended swing and the player wishes to take relief, he must take relief outside the bunker, without penalty, in accordance with Rule 25-1b(i) . All other bunkers on the course, regardless of whether they contain water, maintain their status as hazards and the Rules apply accordingly."

In a competition played over more than one round, such a Local Rule may be introduced or rescinded between round.

In my opinion you got a raw deal.  The ruling was correct, however IMHO the committee did not properly do it's job.  It sounds like the bunker was flooded before the round started and as such the local rule should have been in effect.

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I agree that the committee did a bad job and you got the short end because of it. You also could have never found the ball on the flooded bunker and then, I think you would have needed to treat it as a lost ball.

To the rules experts, is a ball lost on a flooded bunker (still not declared GUR) considered a lost ball? What if the committee did its job and declared the flooded bunkers as GUR yet you still can not find the ball?

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Originally Posted by rustyredcab

To the rules experts, is a ball lost on a flooded bunker (still not declared GUR) considered a lost ball? What if the committee did its job and declared the flooded bunkers as GUR yet you still can not find the ball?

Good question, I had to think about this one........I'm no expert.

In both cases, you are still dealing with a ball lost in an Abnormal Ground Condition.

If no local rule is in effect, you lost a ball in casual water (AGC) in a bunker and 25-1c(ii) applies.  Assuming you can not take relief inside the bunker you drop outside the bunker staying on an extended line from the pin to where the ball last crossed the outer most portion of the AGC.  Add a one stroke penalty.

If a local rule were in effect, 25-1c(i) applies.  In this case, you find the Nearest Point of Relief from where the ball last crossed the margin of the GUR and drop within one club length no closer to the hole.  No penalty

One thing to add is that it must be Known or Virtually Certain that the ball is in fact lost in the AGC.  Otherwise, you are required to play it as a lost ball.  27-1 Stroke and Distance

Anyway,  that's my stab at it.

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One more clarification:  If there was a spot where he could drop in the bunker and play a shot, even if it didn't offer complete relief, then in this one instance he is allowed to take partial relief.  If there was a point in the bunker which met the other requirements for relief, but he had to stand in water and/or play the ball from shallow water, then he could take that relief without incurring a penalty.

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Originally Posted by Fourputt

One more clarification:  If there was a spot where he could drop in the bunker and play a shot, even if it didn't offer complete relief, then in this one instance he is allowed to take partial relief.  If there was a point in the bunker which met the other requirements for relief, but he had to stand in water and/or play the ball from shallow water, then he could take that relief without incurring a penalty.

Hi Fourputt, since you brought it up.........

Normally in taking relief from an AGC, when determining the Nearest Point of Relief, you must take complete relief.  With water in a bunker you get some help from the rules.   As Fourputt correctly explained you can take partial relief, keeping the ball in the bunker without dropping outside of the bunker and thereby avoiding a penalty.  You may drop in the bunker that affords maximum available relief from the condition.

Here are two decisions that help explain what this means.

25-1b/5

Explanation of "Maximum Available Relief" from Casual Water in Bunker

Q. In a bunker completely covered by casual water, is the place providing "maximum available relief" the spot which will provide the most relief for both lie and stance or just lie?

A. The term applies to both lie and stance. The spot providing "maximum available relief" might be such that the ball will be in shallower water than the player's feet after he takes his stance, or vice versa.

25-1b/6

Ball Dropped from Casual Water in Bunker at Point of Maximum Relief Rolls Elsewhere

Q. A player whose ball lies in a bunker completely covered by casual water drops his ball under Rule 25-1b(ii) at a spot where there is 1⁄4 inch of casual water. This spot is the nearest spot providing maximum available relief. The ball rolls into a spot where there is about 1⁄2 inch of casual water. What is the ruling?

A. In equity (Rule 1-4 ), and under the principle of Rule 20-2c(v) , the player may re-drop and, if the ball so rolls again, place the ball where it first struck a part of the course when re-dropped.

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