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Unplayables in a Bunker


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Well stated Rick.  But relief from a bush or water hazard will almost always give you a better lie than inside the bush or water hazard.    GUR and obstructions are a bit different because I am not declaring the ball unplayable.  Rule 28 Part b seems to be the fuzzy point for me.  If I am in a bush or water, I can go back with no limit.  Perhaps, if they eliminated part b, then it would be more consistent with respect to bunkers and other hazards.  If I am allowed to go back any distance, I can most likely find a spot for a better lie.

You are not applying the unplayable rule when you hit into water, so that should be excluded from this conversation.  For the bush, you are not necessarily in a hazard, just as if you hit into a tree and it stays up there.  With a bunker, you are in a hazard 100% of the time.

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You are not applying the unplayable rule when you hit into water, so that should be excluded from this conversation.  For the bush, you are not necessarily in a hazard, just as if you hit into a tree and it stays up there.  With a bunker, you are in a hazard 100% of the time.

We know that you're not applying that rule, but it's still relevant. Just as bushes are. Similar situations should be treated similarly, and since water hazards and bunkers are both hazards, they're quite relevant. That's why bushes are relevant - they aren't hazards at all, but they tie in via the unplayable ball line of thought.


Here's some basic math. Let's assume that a player averages 1.75 strokes to get up and down from a bunker. They average 1.5 from a lie in the grass near the green.

Scenario 1: Ball hit into greenside rough:

Total shots to hole out: 1.5

Scenario 2: Ball hit into bunker.

Total shots to hole out: 1.75.

Scenario 3: Ball hit into bunker, buries, takes unplayable.

Total shots to hole out currently: 2.75 .

Total shots to hole out if paragraph deleted: 2.5 .

Scenario 3b: Ball hit into front of pot bunker, player takes unplayable.

Total shots to hole out if player just whacks away (no unplayable): ???

Total shots to hole out currently: 2.75 .

Total shots to hole out if paragraph deleted: 2.5 .

Scenario 4: Ball hit into water hazard instead of bunker:

Total shots to hole out: 2.5 .

So in some ways, it boils down to this question: why should luck dictate whether a ball burying under the lip makes a bunker more penal than a water hazard (going from 2.5, which matches a water hazard and increases the shot 0.75 strokes over a ball in the middle of the bunker, to 2.75, 0.25 shots more than a water hazard)? I know you can't legislate against luck, but in this case "luck" is clearly costing the player a full stroke rather than the 0.75 it could cost him with the paragraph deleted.

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Here's some basic math. Let's assume that a player averages 1.75 strokes to get up and down from a bunker. They average 1.5 from a lie in the grass near the green.

Scenario 1: Ball hit into greenside rough:

Total shots to hole out: 1.5

Scenario 2: Ball hit into bunker.

Total shots to hole out: 1.75.

Scenario 3: Ball hit into bunker, buries, takes unplayable.

Total shots to hole out currently: 2.75.

Total shots to hole out if paragraph deleted: 2.5.

Scenario 3b: Ball hit into front of pot bunker, player takes unplayable.

Total shots to hole out if player just whacks away (no unplayable): ???

Total shots to hole out currently: 2.75.

Total shots to hole out if paragraph deleted: 2.5.

Scenario 4: Ball hit into water hazard instead of bunker:

Total shots to hole out: 2.5.

So in some ways, it boils down to this question: why should luck dictate whether a ball burying under the lip makes a bunker more penal than a water hazard (going from 2.5, which matches a water hazard and increases the shot 0.75 strokes over a ball in the middle of the bunker, to 2.75, 0.25 shots more than a water hazard)? I know you can't legislate against luck, but in this case "luck" is clearly costing the player a full stroke rather than the 0.75 it could cost him with the paragraph deleted.

Well, I think you are making a case for my viewpoint.  You should not be able gain an advantage by applying the unplayable rule.  But in you example above, with the paragraph deleted, I am in fact gaining a .25 of a stroke advantage.   If I take a one stroke pentalty, I would expect a full stroke added to my baseline up and down metric.

You can attribute the bad luck to a risk/reward option you executed on the hole, you chose not to aim for the middle of the green, instead you went to the side where the flag and 4 pot bunkers are on.

I think the clear lesson here is to aim for the middle of the green, maybe you write a post giving that advice. :-P

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Then you're in favor of abolishing unplayable balls entirely, or at least making them all stroke and distance, eh?

Because otherwise you have players not playing the ball as it lies, through their own fault (i.e. Not GUR, obstructions, etc.)

No, not at all.  I just don't want to see this rule abused.

Removing this paragraph would make sense on the rare occasion that your ball is actually unplayable in a bunker.  But I'm just fearing that it might find more usage in cases where the ball is very playable.  And I'm thinking that might bother me.  I don't really know.  I'd have to see it in action before I knew for sure.

This is why I'm with David in wishing there was a way to define an unplayable ball with something a little more stringent than "I don't want to."

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We know that you're not applying that rule, but it's still relevant. Just as bushes are. Similar situations should be treated similarly, and since water hazards and bunkers are both hazards, they're quite relevant. That's why bushes are relevant - they aren't hazards at all, but they tie in via the unplayable ball line of thought. [rule] Here's some basic math. Let's assume that a player averages 1.75 strokes to get up and down from a bunker. They average 1.5 from a lie in the grass near the green.   Scenario 1: Ball hit into greenside rough: Total shots to hole out: 1.5 Scenario 2: Ball hit into bunker. Total shots to hole out: 1.75. Scenario 3: Ball hit into bunker, buries, takes unplayable. Total shots to hole out currently: 2.75 . Total shots to hole out if paragraph deleted: 2.5 . Scenario 3b: Ball hit into front of pot bunker, player takes unplayable. Total shots to hole out if player just whacks away (no unplayable): ??? Total shots to hole out currently: 2.75 . Total shots to hole out if paragraph deleted: 2.5 . Scenario 4: Ball hit into water hazard instead of bunker: Total shots to hole out: 2.5 . So in some ways, it boils down to this question: why should luck dictate whether a ball burying under the lip makes a bunker more penal than a water hazard (going from 2.5, which matches a water hazard and increases the shot 0.75 strokes over a ball in the middle of the bunker, to 2.75, 0.25 shots more than a water hazard)? I know you can't legislate against luck, but in this case "luck" is clearly costing the player a full stroke rather than the 0.75 it could cost him with the paragraph deleted.

Using your "here's some basic math" formula. How do you address the unfairness of a scenario where Player A enters bunker, good lie : 1.75 Player B enters water hazard but ball has held up on dry land : 1.5 ? Both hazards but the balance or fairness you want isn't there Let's call it a day and say that a ball is as likely to plug into a lip of a bunker as it is to cling onto the dry margin of a water hazard.

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No, not at all.  I just don't want to see this rule abused.

Removing this paragraph would make sense on the rare occasion that your ball is actually unplayable in a bunker.  But I'm just fearing that it might find more usage in cases where the ball is very playable.  And I'm thinking that might bother me.  I don't really know.  I'd have to see it in action before I knew for sure.

This is why I'm with David in wishing there was a way to define an unplayable ball with something a little more stringent than "I don't want to."

Why would someone intentionally give himself 0.75 strokes if the odds were better with a good lie?

Scenario 2: Ball hit into bunker.

Total shots to hole out: 1.75.

Scenario 3: Ball hit into bunker, buries, takes unplayable.

Total shots to hole out currently: 2.75 .

Total shots to hole out if paragraph deleted: 2.5.

Scenario 3b: Ball hit into front of pot bunker, player takes unplayable.

Total shots to hole out if player just whacks away (no unplayable): ???

Total shots to hole out currently: 2.75 .

Total shots to hole out if paragraph deleted: 2.5.

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Well, I think you are making a case for my viewpoint.  You should not be able gain an advantage by applying the unplayable rule.  But in you example above, with the paragraph deleted, I am in fact gaining a .25 of a stroke advantage.   If I take a one stroke pentalty, I would expect a full stroke added to my baseline up and down metric.

You can attribute the bad luck to a risk/reward option you executed on the hole, you chose not to aim for the middle of the green, instead you went to the side where the flag and 4 pot bunkers are on.

I think the clear lesson here is to aim for the middle of the green, maybe you write a post giving that advice.

I don't understand your point here. A person who takes an unplayable from a bush is almost certainly going to end up with a better score than trying to play out of the bush... The reason for taking an unplayable is because the penalty stroke is going to give a better score than trying to play it where it is.

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I don't understand your point here. A person who takes an unplayable from a bush is almost certainly going to end up with a better score than trying to play out of the bush... The reason for taking an unplayable is because the penalty stroke is going to give a better score than trying to play it where it is.

To clarify a bit more: A person who takes an unplayable from a ball buried in the lip of a bunker is almost certainly going to end up with a better score than trying to play a ball buried in the lip of a bunker. ;-)

The point I was trying to make is a pentalty stroke should equate to 1 full stroke, not .75 of a stroke.

Brad

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No, not at all.  I just don't want to see this rule abused.

Removing this paragraph would make sense on the rare occasion that your ball is actually unplayable in a bunker.  But I'm just fearing that it might find more usage in cases where the ball is very playable.  And I'm thinking that might bother me.  I don't really know.  I'd have to see it in action before I knew for sure.

This is why I'm with David in wishing there was a way to define an unplayable ball with something a little more stringent than "I don't want to."

Why would someone intentionally give himself 0.75 strokes if the odds were better with a good lie?

Scenario 2: Ball hit into bunker.

Total shots to hole out: 1.75.

Scenario 3: Ball hit into bunker, buries, takes unplayable.

Total shots to hole out currently: 2.75.

Total shots to hole out if paragraph deleted: 2.5.

Scenario 3b: Ball hit into front of pot bunker, player takes unplayable.

Total shots to hole out if player just whacks away (no unplayable): ???

Total shots to hole out currently: 2.75.

Total shots to hole out if paragraph deleted: 2.5.

I imagine that he wouldn't.  However, I'm not understanding how this relates to my post?

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The point I was trying to make is a pentalty stroke should equate to 1 full stroke, not .75 of a stroke.

I disagree (and would point out that it is an elected penalty), and there are numerous situations under the current rules where that's untrue.

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One thing I haven't seen in this thread (unless I missed it) is that when your ball is unplayable in a water hazard (i.e in the water), you MUST take the penalty.  Rule 26 gives the player no choice in that respect.  In a bunker you may have a horrible lie or stance, but you still have the choice of playing the ball or declaring it unplayable.  The ball is almost never going to be unplayable because it's under water.

In my 40 years in the game I've never had to declare a ball unplayable in a bunker.  Not once.  To me that means that in most of the world which doesn't have Scottish style bunkers, a truly unplayable lie in a bunker is a very rare occurrence.  I've had the ball plugged in the face of the bunker, and I just dug it out.  It wasn't a great shot, but I got it out of the bunker.  There is no doubt in my mind that If I had declared it unplayable, I would have had a better lie after my drop - maybe not a great lie, but certainly better.  In that respect, playing under Rule 28 and dropping in the bunker would have been just about equivalent to playing the shot I did.  It wasn't more than 50-50 that I'd get it out, and no guarantee as to the lie.  At least if I'd dropped, I know what I'd have gotten.

In any case, I think that any such proposal would fail to be accepted.  The ruling bodies would simply state that playing from sand is a skill that a golfer is expected to have, and the penalty for not doing so must sufficiently penal to remove the temptation to drop outside rather than play from the bunker except in extreme circumstances.

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One thing I haven't seen in this thread (unless I missed it) is that when your ball is unplayable in a water hazard (i.e in the water), you MUST take the penalty.  Rule 26 gives the player no choice in that respect.  In a bunker you may have a horrible lie or stance, but you still have the choice of playing the ball or declaring it unplayable.  The ball is almost never going to be unplayable because it's under water.

In my 40 years in the game I've never had to declare a ball unplayable in a bunker.  Not once.  To me that means that in most of the world which doesn't have Scottish style bunkers, a truly unplayable lie in a bunker is a very rare occurrence.  I've had the ball plugged in the face of the bunker, and I just dug it out.  It wasn't a great shot, but I got it out of the bunker.  There is no doubt in my mind that If I had declared it unplayable, I would have had a better lie after my drop - maybe not a great lie, but certainly better.  In that respect, playing under Rule 28 and dropping in the bunker would have been just about equivalent to playing the shot I did.  It wasn't more than 50-50 that I'd get it out, and no guarantee as to the lie.  At least if I'd dropped, I know what I'd have gotten.

In any case, I think that any such proposal would fail to be accepted.  The ruling bodies would simply state that playing from sand is a skill that a golfer is expected to have, and the penalty for not doing so must sufficiently penal to remove the temptation to drop outside rather than play from the bunker except in extreme circumstances.

I've seen about 3-4 unplayable lies in a bunker in the past 3 years. Both of which were overhanging lips where the ball was underneath them. Given the players never took an unplayable. They just tried to beat the ball out of where it was, but it the better option would have been an unplayable lie.

Then I think they should take out the option of being able to play the ball from the water. I think once you are in a hazard you can not play the ball. I think the distinction must be made between where you have to play and where you can't play it. This way the bunker doesn't mimic another hazard, yet has its own standard with regards to dropping.

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Then I think they should take out the option of being able to play the ball from the water. I think once you are in a hazard you can not play the ball. I think the distinction must be made between where you have to play and where you can't play it. This way the bunker doesn't mimic another hazard, yet has its own standard with regards to dropping.

FWIW I disagree with that. A player should always have the option to play his ball if it's in bounds, not on the wrong putting green, in a protected area, etc.

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One thing I haven't seen in this thread (unless I missed it) is that when your ball is unplayable in a water hazard (i.e in the water), you MUST take the penalty.  Rule 26 gives the player no choice in that respect.  In a bunker you may have a horrible lie or stance, but you still have the choice of playing the ball or declaring it unplayable.  The ball is almost never going to be unplayable because it's under water.

In my 40 years in the game I've never had to declare a ball unplayable in a bunker.  Not once.  To me that means that in most of the world which doesn't have Scottish style bunkers, a truly unplayable lie in a bunker is a very rare occurrence.  I've had the ball plugged in the face of the bunker, and I just dug it out.  It wasn't a great shot, but I got it out of the bunker.  There is no doubt in my mind that If I had declared it unplayable, I would have had a better lie after my drop - maybe not a great lie, but certainly better.  In that respect, playing under Rule 28 and dropping in the bunker would have been just about equivalent to playing the shot I did.  It wasn't more than 50-50 that I'd get it out, and no guarantee as to the lie.  At least if I'd dropped, I know what I'd have gotten.

In any case, I think that any such proposal would fail to be accepted.  The ruling bodies would simply state that playing from sand is a skill that a golfer is expected to have, and the penalty for not doing so must sufficiently penal to remove the temptation to drop outside rather than play from the bunker except in extreme circumstances.

And I've had it happen only once.  It was so embedded that even though it was a shot from no more than 140 yards, and we watched it go in and splash, it still took a little bit of searching to find it, because it was 100% buried.  I took an unplayable for that one, but it's the only time.

One other time in the last year, I've had a ball totally plugged near the lip, but it was visible and I chose to hit it.  And it was the right call because it popped up and slid down to the bottom of the trap, and thus wasn't buried.  (Although now that I think of it, this one was buried in the lip on the backside of the bunker away from the hole ... I wouldn't have been able to drop anyway. ;))

I've seen about 3-4 unplayable lies in a bunker in the past 3 years. Both of which were overhanging lips where the ball was underneath them. Given the players never took an unplayable. They just tried to beat the ball out of where it was, but it the better option would have been an unplayable lie.

Per my example above, I don't know that it's automatic that taking an unplayable would have resulted in a better lie.  If they didn't move the ball, or buried it deeper, then definitely, but if they were able to get it out of its hole, probably not.

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So a second argument (really, just an adjustment to the first) that I'd give some merit to would be: It doesn't happen often enough that the potential for it to be used "properly" would be more common than the potential for it to be abused, particularly in Scotland.

Yes?

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Fourputt

One thing I haven't seen in this thread (unless I missed it) is that when your ball is unplayable in a water hazard (i.e in the water), you MUST take the penalty.  Rule 26 gives the player no choice in that respect.  In a bunker you may have a horrible lie or stance, but you still have the choice of playing the ball or declaring it unplayable.  The ball is almost never going to be unplayable because it's under water.

In my 40 years in the game I've never had to declare a ball unplayable in a bunker.  Not once.  To me that means that in most of the world which doesn't have Scottish style bunkers, a truly unplayable lie in a bunker is a very rare occurrence.  I've had the ball plugged in the face of the bunker, and I just dug it out.  It wasn't a great shot, but I got it out of the bunker.  There is no doubt in my mind that If I had declared it unplayable, I would have had a better lie after my drop - maybe not a great lie, but certainly better.  In that respect, playing under Rule 28 and dropping in the bunker would have been just about equivalent to playing the shot I did.  It wasn't more than 50-50 that I'd get it out, and no guarantee as to the lie.  At least if I'd dropped, I know what I'd have gotten.

In any case, I think that any such proposal would fail to be accepted.  The ruling bodies would simply state that playing from sand is a skill that a golfer is expected to have, and the penalty for not doing so must sufficiently penal to remove the temptation to drop outside rather than play from the bunker except in extreme circumstances.

I've seen about 3-4 unplayable lies in a bunker in the past 3 years. Both of which were overhanging lips where the ball was underneath them. Given the players never took an unplayable. They just tried to beat the ball out of where it was, but it the better option would have been an unplayable lie.

Then I think they should take out the option of being able to play the ball from the water. I think once you are in a hazard you can not play the ball. I think the distinction must be made between where you have to play and where you can't play it. This way the bunker doesn't mimic another hazard, yet has its own standard with regards to dropping.

The player should always have the option of playing his ball as it lies as long as it's somewhere on the golf course other than a wrong putting green.  This is the most fundamental principle of golf.  I'm not even a fan of prohibiting play from ESA's.  This designation seems to be more of an attempted panacea for speeding play than something which truly protects anything vital to the environment.

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The player should always have the option of playing his ball as it lies as long as it's somewhere on the golf course other than a wrong putting green.

They can mandate that you not play from ESAs, but also from GUR, too. Say, to protect young trees or new grass or something.

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Fourputt

The player should always have the option of playing his ball as it lies as long as it's somewhere on the golf course other than a wrong putting green.

They can mandate that you not play from ESAs, but also from GUR, too. Say, to protect young trees or new grass or something.

I understand that.  I was just stressing my disagreement with Matt's suggestion that play be disallowed from water hazards.  That is totally contrary to the foundations of the game that if the ball is playable, you should be allowed to play it.

I've seen too many "ESA's" that had no particular reason for being so marked aside from simply preventing a player from losing time by searching for his ball.  One course I play occasionally has several holes that wind down through a little ravine.  There is nothing about this ravine that is different from any other ravine in eastern Colorado, no environment that is in any way "sensitive", but they have it marked as prohibiting entry solely to speed up play, and that goes against the grain for me.  Just a peeve... I'll live with it.

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