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Unplayables in a Bunker


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Originally Posted by iacas

Each decides to take a penalty stroke and drop back, in the fairway, on the line from the hole through their ball. Except the guy in the bunker doesn't get to do it. If he is a poor bunker player, under the Rules of Golf, he could quite literally never get out unless he opts to re-play his tee shot (stroke and distance), effectively a two-stroke penalty while the other players only suffer a one-stroke penalty.

What's the harm? Bunkers suck. Most players will continue to play out of them most of the time, but if your ball buries under the lip and you want to take an unplayable, why should you be penalized MORE than if your ball buries in the mud of a creek in a water hazard by having to play from the hazard again?

Good post, very interesting thoughts being bounced around.   To clarify, the "mud of a creek" would be a water hazard and thus the unplayable is not an option to the golfer, only the guy hitting into the brush and the bunker have the unplayable option.

For the golfer in the brush, a lot of times the options B and C will result in a shot that is no better, they will still be in the dirt or blocked by trees etc, the only benefit they get is a clean swing at the ball, this is the same benefit given to golfer in the bunker, a clean swing from a normal lie.

I like the rule as it forces people to live with the fact that they hit into a bunker, there is no way out except to replay the shot which is a risk/reward decision.

Brad

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My experience in playing with a large cross section of the golfing public leads me to believe that it would become fairly common.  There are a lot of golfers out there that really struggle with bunker shots.  If given the option of dropping out, we would see many players taking that option.  Not on the PGA Tour or among highly skilled players but by that large mass of low skill players that make up the golf population I belong to.  Soon there would be articles in magazines extolling the common sense of taking the drop rather than attempting to hit from a fried egg or plugged lie.  That would be a fundamental change in the game.

So, let's assume you're right, and everyone who can't break 90 takes the drop. I still don't have a problem with that. Plus, they have to know they'll never learn if they don't ever hit those shots, and if they ever want to get into the 80s, they can't keep adding penalty strokes just because they want to avoid hitting bunker shots.

I still don't see much problem with that.

Good post, very interesting thoughts being bounced around.   To clarify, the "mud of a creek" would be a water hazard and thus the unplayable is not an option to the golfer, only the guy hitting into the brush and the bunker have the unplayable option.

Of course, but that's not what I was saying. I was saying that forcing someone to drop in a bunker when they've chosen to take a penalty is like forcing someone to drop inside the hazard (but not in three feet of water) when they take a penalty stroke from a water hazard.

They get an advantage despite water hazards being "worse" regions than bunkers.

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Of course, but that's not what I was saying. I was saying that forcing someone to drop in a bunker when they've chosen to take a penalty is like forcing someone to drop inside the hazard (but not in three feet of water) when they take a penalty stroke from a water hazard.

They get an advantage despite water hazards being "worse" regions than bunkers.

Although you can declare unplayable anytime (except from a water hazard), I feel the spirit of that rule is to allow relief from shots that are truly impossible like in a bush, under a rock, etc.   I hit the ball into the bunker, I should expect my next shot to be from that bunker.  If I can't take a swing at the ball, I can get relief, it just costs me a stroke, I still expect to be in the bunker as that is where I hit the ball.

I get what your argument is, but I would not vote for it personally.

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Although you can declare unplayable anytime (except from a water hazard), I feel the spirit of that rule is to allow relief from shots that are truly impossible like in a bush, under a rock, etc.   I hit the ball into the bunker, I should expect my next shot to be from that bunker.  If I can't take a swing at the ball, I can get relief, it just costs me a stroke, I still expect to be in the bunker as that is where I hit the ball.

A ball buried under the lip of the bunker is just as unplayable as any of those. You also hit the ball into the bush, yet you can easily get relief from the bush. Same with water hazards. And at the end of the day you can declare your ball unplayable any time you like. Only a sucky golfer is gonna do so when his ball is easily playable in a bunker.

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Originally Posted by Spyder

If every course around here did that, we'd have about 3 courses with bunkers left within 50 miles of me. I brought the bunker conditions up to a super once last season when I played a certain course near me. The rate was like $52 for 18 holes in July. I remember landing in a bunker that literally felt like concrete. You didn't need to rake anything because you never disturbed the sand and raking was useless because it wouldn't even leave rake marks. At the turn, I asked the superintendent why the bunkers were so "rough" and he laughed and said "It's a bunker. Stay out of'em and you won't have to whine and bitch about the damn sand.". I replied "You've got to be f****** kidding me, right?" to which he responded "Listen, I'm sick of hearing people crying about the damn bunkers. It's golf and you deserve to be penalized if you land in one". I left it at that because I was on the verge of blowing up because of the way he reacted. I never finished the back 9 and I haven't been back there since 2010.

Being able to take an unplayable outside of the bunker would also allow an easier solution to this kind of problem (from the thread on "What Relatively Common Golf Course Features Do You Dislike?").

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A ball buried under the lip of the bunker is just as unplayable as any of those.

You also hit the ball into the bush, yet you can easily get relief from the bush. Same with water hazards.

And at the end of the day you can declare your ball unplayable any time you like. Only a sucky golfer is gonna do so when his ball is easily playable in a bunker.

Ok, let's stop comparing these to water hazards, as those are covered under a seperate rule.

A ball buried under the lip of a bunker and a ball in the bush both offer the same and equal option for relief.  Relief from the bush may or may not result in a better lie, but should allow for a clear swing.   Relief from the buried ball in the lip gives you the same relief.   I bet if surveyed, there are a lot of scratch and pro golfers who would prefer the bunker shot over dropping in 2-3 rough around a green.

Hitting into a bush is not necessarily a hazard area either, so if you by chance improve your lie all the better and it's fair, but the bunker is a hazard and in a hazard ye shall remain.    Now if the bunker is completely filled with water...... :-P

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bmartin461 said:

Ok, let's stop comparing these to water hazards, as those are covered under a seperate rule.

No thanks, for reasons already stated.

bmartin461 said:

A ball buried under the lip of a bunker and a ball in the bush both offer the same and equal option for relief.

No they don't. Relief from the bush doesn't require you to drop in the bush. You can often go back five or ten yards and be free of the bush.

bmartin461 said:

I bet if surveyed, there are a lot of scratch and pro golfers who would prefer the bunker shot over dropping in 2-3 rough around a green.

And they're free to not declare their ball unplayable! :-)

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Here's a question. Suppose I hit a 200 yard approach shot, it crosses the green into a greenside bunker, where it embeds in the wall at the farthest end of the bunker, and is unplayable. Here's the problem, under the current rules, you can only take relief dropping in the bunker, no closer to the hole. But in this case there is no point in the bunker that is no closer to the hole.

So do I have any option under the current rules, other than to take stroke and distance, and rehit from 200 yards away?

Obviously Erik's proposed change would give me a much better option here.

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So do I have any option under the current rules, other than to take stroke and distance, and rehit from 200 yards away?

Correct, in this case, that is your only option under the current rules.

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No thanks, for reasons already stated.

No they don't. Relief from the bush doesn't require you to drop in the bush. You can often go back five or ten yards and be free of the bush.

And they're free to not declare their ball unplayable!

I'm not following your counter arguments.   Relief means relief, I take an unplayable from a bush, I should not be in a bush.  If I take an unplayable from a ball in the lip of a bunker, I should not be in the lip of a bunker again.

Unplayable means just that, I can't play it, so I take a penalty and get relief.  So again, I vote no. :whistle:

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I'm not following your counter arguments.   Relief means relief, I take an unplayable from a bush, I should not be in a bush.  If I take an unplayable from a ball in the lip of a bunker, I should not be in the lip of a bunker again.

I think they're fairly easy to follow. You take a stroke, and you should get to do the same things as you get to do from a water hazard or an unplayable elsewhere. That's it in a nutshell.

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Here's a question. Suppose I hit a 200 yard approach shot, it crosses the green into a greenside bunker, where it embeds in the wall at the farthest end of the bunker, and is unplayable. Here's the problem, under the current rules, you can only take relief dropping in the bunker, no closer to the hole. But in this case there is no point in the bunker that is no closer to the hole.

So do I have any option under the current rules, other than to take stroke and distance, and rehit from 200 yards away?

Obviously Erik's proposed change would give me a much better option here.

And that is one example of the current rule being excessively penal.

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I agree with Erik which is why I started http://thesandtrap.com/t/69036/bunkers-vs-water-hazards last year.

I realize that most bunkers are easier to play out of than most water hazards and that many course designers intend that landing in a bunker hurts your score less than landing in a water hazard which is why I posted this in the rules section of the forum- From a rules perspective, why are you given more options if your ball comes to rest in a water hazard than in a bunker?

Water Hazard Options-

1.  Play the ball as it lies, but not ground your club

2.  Stroke and distance under 27-1

3.  Drop OUTSIDE (behind) the hazard with a stroke penalty under 26-1a

4.  For Lateral WH, drop 2 club lengths OUTSIDE the point the ball entered the hazard or opposite margin of the hazard under 26-1b

Sand Hazard (Bunker) Options-

1.  Play the ball as it lies, but not ground your club

2.  Stroke and distance under 27-1

3.  Drop INSIDE the hazard with a stroke penalty under 28b OR 28c

Looking at the way some of the pros took multiple shots to get out of a bunker or played bunker shots going backwards or sideways into long grass at the Open Championship, it sure seemed to me that they would have been better off had the bunker been considered a Water Hazard, thus giving them the option of taking a penalty stroke and dropping outside the hazard (without having to go back to where they played their original shot).

Also, what happens if you are virtually certain that your ball is lost in a bunker, but can't find it?  I know that if you are virtually certain it is lost in a WH, that you can assume it is lost in the hazard and take a drop outside the hazard without going back to where you played the original shot from.  Pretty sure you don't have this option with a bunker.

Originally Posted by MEfree

Why are bunkers more penal than water hazards?

Originally Posted by iacas

They aren't, and I don't appreciate your attempts at sensationalism by burying the lede.

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The more I think about this, the more I struggle with it.

I think we're trying to compare two situations that on the surface appear to be the same, but aren't.  On one hand we're talking about taking relief from a water hazard and on the other about deeming a ball to be unplayable , which is specifically not allowed in a water hazard.  They seem the same, but are not.

If we take the water hazard out of the equation (and we should, because it's irrelevant in discussing unplayables ) then it seems to make sense.  Given the nature of where bunkers tend to be located, allowing the same options in deeming a ball unplayable from the bunker would tend to make doing so less penal than doing so in many instances through the green.  Through the green, there are a lot of times when the only real option is to replay the shot.  Seldom would that be the case from a bunker.  Bunkers (defined as hazards) should be potentially more penal, not less than through the green.

I guess we could apply the relief options for a water hazard to bunkers.....but now we need to determine if the bunker is lateral or not, and the drop options would get extremely complicated in a hurry, especially as they relate to dropping on the opposite side of a lateral hazard.  Can you imagine.......?! :bugout:

One other option would be to allow players to deem their ball unplayable from within a water hazard, but with the same restrictions now applied to doing so in a bunker.  In terms of equity, that would seem to be the more logical change to me.

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The more I think about this, the more I struggle with it.

I think we're trying to compare two situations that on the surface appear to be the same, but aren't.  On one hand we're talking about taking relief from a water hazard and on the other about deeming a ball to be unplayable, which is specifically not allowed in a water hazard.  They seem the same, but are not.

If we take the water hazard out of the equation (and we should, because it's irrelevant in discussing unplayables) then it seems to make sense.  Given the nature of where bunkers tend to be located, allowing the same options in deeming a ball unplayable from the bunker would tend to make doing so less penal than doing so in many instances through the green.  Through the green, there are a lot of times when the only real option is to replay the shot.  Seldom would that be the case from a bunker.  Bunkers (defined as hazards) should be potentially more penal, not less than through the green.

I guess we could apply the relief options for a water hazard to bunkers.....but now we need to determine if the bunker is lateral or not, and the drop options would get extremely complicated in a hurry, especially as they relate to dropping on the opposite side of a lateral hazard.  Can you imagine.......?!

One other option would be to allow players to deem their ball unplayable from within a water hazard, but with the same restrictions now applied to doing so in a bunker.  In terms of equity, that would seem to be the more logical change to me.

But isn't a ball in a water hazard that is not near the surface unplayable ?  You really have no choice in the declaration in that case, but it is still and unplayable lie.  In that case, you are forced into the drop option.

As for lateral or not. treat is as if it were a pond next to the green and not a lateral.

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But isn't a ball in a water hazard that is not near the surface unplayable ?  You really have no choice in the declaration in that case, but it is still and unplayable lie.  In that case, you are forced into the drop option.   As for lateral or not. treat is as if it were a pond next to the green and not a lateral.

Whether a ball can be played or not is irrelevant to the right of the player to deem any ball unplayable under rule 28. Again, though they sound similar, rules 26 and 28 address completely different situations. What about the fairway bunker that stretches laterally down the entire length of the hole? Treating that as a yellow stake hazard would completely defeat any effort to treat all hazards similarly. Another reason that option would not work.

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Originally Posted by MEfree

Why are bunkers more penal than water hazards?

Originally Posted by iacas

They aren't, and I don't appreciate your attempts at sensationalism by burying the lede.

They still aren't. Bunkers are not more penal. Your first post was exactly the type of douchebag posts you routinely made before being restricted from all Rules threads until you'd read the Principles booklet.

Bunkers are not more penal than water hazards.

Learn to hit a bunker shot instead of insisting on a Rule change because you can't?  :)

This isn't about that, but thanks for being glib. :P

I think we're trying to compare two situations that on the surface appear to be the same, but aren't.  On one hand we're talking about taking relief from a water hazard and on the other about deeming a ball to be unplayable, which is specifically not allowed in a water hazard.  They seem the same, but are not.

I'm not suggesting they're exactly the same.

I'm simply suggesting removing the paragraph that requires you to drop again IN the bunker. You're taking your medicine (a stroke), so why grant people the same opportunity for relief after they've taken their stroke?

If we take the water hazard out of the equation (and we should, because it's irrelevant in discussing unplayables) then it seems to make sense.  Given the nature of where bunkers tend to be located, allowing the same options in deeming a ball unplayable from the bunker would tend to make doing so less penal than doing so in many instances through the green.  Through the green, there are a lot of times when the only real option is to replay the shot.  Seldom would that be the case from a bunker.  Bunkers (defined as hazards) should be potentially more penal, not less than through the green.

I disagree that there are "lots of times" when stroke and distance is the only real option to play the shot. You have to hit it in some pretty bad shit for that to be the best option.

And if you hit it in a greenside bunker, and it plugs in the lip, well you're not that far offline. They don't put bunkers well off-line, so if you hit it in the desert in a cactus and want to call it unplayable, and your only option is to re-play it, well good… you hit it so far offline. Bunkers aren't really far off-line.

I realize you can't legislate for luck in the Rules, but this seems to further punish players who had the bad luck of their ball plugging in a bunker under the lip or something. They take their stroke, and eliminating the paragraph gives them some more options.

(I'd eliminate the stupid rule that says you have to drop in an inch of water if the entire bunker is flooded, too… but that's for another matter, and it probably almost never happens.)

I guess we could apply the relief options for a water hazard to bunkers.....but now we need to determine if the bunker is lateral or not, and the drop options would get extremely complicated in a hurry, especially as they relate to dropping on the opposite side of a lateral hazard.  Can you imagine.......?!

No we don't. They can drop within two club lengths of where the ball lies, re-play the shot, or drop on a line back from where their ball lies to the hole. If that's still in the bunker, because it's a huge fairway bunker and they don't want to go back 50 yards, so be it.

There's no "boundary" like water hazards.

Seriously, you just eliminate the paragraph. This "lateral or not" stuff only applies to water hazards because they have lines where the ball last crossed. That's not a concern here.

Whether a ball can be played or not is irrelevant to the right of the player to deem any ball unplayable under rule 28. Again, though they sound similar, rules 26 and 28 address completely different situations.

What about the fairway bunker that stretches laterally down the entire length of the hole? Treating that as a yellow stake hazard would completely defeat any effort to treat all hazards similarly. Another reason that option would not work.

See above. It's irrelevant. Deleting the paragraph is all that's required. There's no need to worry about the line the ball last crossed the hazard. This is the Unplayable Ball rule, not the hazard rule.

Just delete the paragraph.

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