Originally Posted by Rulesman
" water hazards and bunkers are both hazards"
That is the only thing they have in common. They are hazards. It is simply a word used to indicate they are not TTG, putting greens or teeing grounds. It also indicates that its not a good idea to get involved with them as they are a "danger or risk"
Why should the procedures involved be the same if the physical attributes are not?
The physical attributes of a bush, a boundary fence/wall, deep rough and trees are also different. Would you advocate having different unplayable lie procedures for each of these? From a simplicity standpoint, I favor having 1 procedure or set of options apply to as many situations as possible rather than having different procedures/options for minimally different situations.
Several have stated that having the same unplayable lie procedure for bunkers could lead to some players avoiding bunker shots completely by always taking a penalty drop outside the bunker, thus obviating the need to learn to play from bunkers. What % of golfers who actually follow all the rules do you think would do this?
My thinking is that only bad golfers would consistently take penalty drops outside bunkers and that very few bad golfers actually follow all the rules. Put another way, of those that currently play by the rules of golf, very few would actually "abuse" or "overuse" the ability to take a penalty drop outside a bunker as playing bunker shots without penalty is almost always going to be the better option. Also, the ones who always dropped outside bunkers would score higher than those who learned to play it from the bunker meaning that good bunker play would still be a worthwhile skill to have even if you were allowed to take an unplayable lie drop outside bunkers.
I think there are really only 2 valid/logical arguments for having unplayable lies from bunkers treated differently:
1. Increase the role luck plays- i.e. with a ball buried in the lip of a bunker, you would have been much better off if the ball had carried a couple feet more OR less.
2. Have the penalty for hitting into certain bunkers be more than 1 stroke- i.e. pot bunkers where your best option is going to be equal or worse than a penalty drop behind the bunker.
I prefer to reduce the role of luck. While avoiding pot bunkers adds a strategic element and seeing Tiger on his knees hitting out sideways does make for good TV, I think pot bunkers do add to the role luck plays for the following reasons:
1. An unusually hard or crooked bounce can put a well played/well thought out shot into one of these bunkers while some poorly played/thought out shots might miss the bunker due to a crooked or soft bounce. Sure, good and bad bounces are part of the game, but pot bunkers make them more beneficial or costly.
2. Many of these bunkers are blind and located in what one would assume is fairway, so good luck or extensive course knowledge is needed to avoid them.