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Unplayables in a Bunker


iacas
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Originally Posted by iacas

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.

There's certainly a defined margin to a bunker.

I think the cleaner option, in terms of equity would simply be to eliminate the exclusion of water hazards under rule 28 and specify that when proceeding from any hazard under rule 28 you must drop within the margin of that hazard.

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.

Which is exactly why I'm struggling with the comparison that you're making between the two.  Rule 28 has nothing to do with options under Rule 26.  What happens under one is irrelevant to the other.

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Another oddity here. If there is an abnormal ground condition in the bunker, you get the same free relief as you would through the green, so long as the nearest point of relief is in the bunker and the ball is dropped in the bunker.  However, you are then also given the option to take a penalty and drop outside of the bunker (in a line with the hole and the original spot of the ball).

Point being, here you are given an extra option if you are in the bunker, to take a penalty and drop outside the bunker.  And it doesn't matter either if the abnormal condition is in only one part of the bunker, and there are plenty of places in the buker where you could drop. You still get the option, if you prefer, to take the penalty and get out of the bunker. If there were some great philosophical objection to players not having to play from the bunker, even when taking a penalty, maybe they shouldn't have included it here.

The big difference though is that dropping outside the bunker incurs an extra penalty stroke (where otherwise there is none). So it seems to me, if you have an unplayable ball in the bunker, the rules want to penalize you twice, once for the unplayable, and once for the bunker. You aren't permitted to escape both with a single penalty.

You don't have this with water hazards, because you can't take an unplayable in a water hazard. But the only reason the rules don't allow an unplayable in water is that they always allow relief from the hazard. You can play the ball from the hazard. Or you can take the relief from the hazard.

It seems the main reason bunkers and water are treated differently is a desire to encourage play from bunkers, but not from water. Bunkers are there to force a player to demonstrate an ability to play off a different surface. They are man made, and easy to maintain, and even if lots of players play in them and chop up the surface, they just need a bit of raking and are as good as new. The sand shot is seen as an integral part of the game. You carry a sand wedge, not a water wedge. So the rules are written with that in mind, to not, typically, allow relief from a bunker. And rule 28 wasn't meant to undo that.

So with that in mind, maybe rule 28 should remain unchanged, and it's rule 25-1b(ii)(b) which is unnecessary.

I don't have much opinion on this, as neither provides very much in the way of simplification. Something much more radical, like treating all water, out of bounds, and lost balls under the same rule, would be more interesting to me.

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It would be great to hear what the RB's have had in mind when not allowing what Erik is proposing.

Some things that make me very much hesitant to change that Rule:

- if you get an unplayable lie in a bunker and drop it in the bunker partially embedding your ball you are not in any different position than if you ball had partially embedded in the first place. Sometimes you get a good lie and sometimes you don't. You are way much worse off once there is a lot of casual water in the bunker and in such a case you have the option to get out of the bunker with 1 PS.

- in my experience it is rather seldom (per player) a ball embeds in a bunker so badly that you cannot make any kind of stroke at it. IMO it is not the meaning of a bunker that you should always be able to make a stroke towards the pin but sometimes you just have to make a sideways stroke. This option is available also in most of the buried or embedded lies as well.

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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.

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I was struggling with the same thing but couldn't write a post that explained my thoughts.

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Hmm...if I am understanding the proposal right, you would still have to drop within 2 club lengths, right? We're just talking about the additional requirement of keeping it in the bunker? So in the situation you describe, I think you'd still be in the bunker either way, right?

Wouldn't taking an unplayable let you drop it in the bunker within 2 club lengths?

Unplayable also allows you the option of going back on a line from your ball through the hole as far as you want, does it not?  Take away the paragraph Erik is talking about and you'd be able to drop behind the bunker in many cases.

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Unplayable also allows you the option of going back on a line from your ball through the hole as far as you want, does it not?  Take away the paragraph Erik is talking about and you'd be able to drop behind the bunker in many cases.

You're too fast!  I wrote that response days ago but realized I was completely wrong and stopped.  When I replied to David's post I didn't realize my old draft was still in the editing box.  I thought about sending you a PM to explain since you probably get an email with my original post, but figured if I edited it quick, it would be gone before you got here :beer:

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You're too fast!  I wrote that response days ago but realized I was completely wrong and stopped.  When I replied to David's post I didn't realize my old draft was still in the editing box.  I thought about sending you a PM to explain since you probably get an email with my original post, but figured if I edited it quick, it would be gone before you got here

Sorry.  But that's funny because that happens to me all the time. ;)

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I am leaning towards a "no" on this one. Although, I think it would make sense to require a "drop" in all relief/penalty situations other than in sand. If it's in the sand, you could "place" the ball. We got new bunkers at my home course late last year and the sand is VERY fluffy. Dropping a ball from shoulder height would give you a fried egg every time.. Contrary to what some others have said, I believe there are a number of players at my club that would take a penalty drop outside of a bunker quite often (the guys I'm thinking of are older and struggle with the strength/technique it takes to get out of sand - it's not uncommon for them to just pick up their ball after their 3rd failed attempt). What if one of these guys won a "net" tournament by 1 stroke while utilizing this proposed rule twice in the round. That would certainly garner some controversy. I could also see potential scenarios where I would take this penalty. Let's say I hit into a fairway bunker that has a very high front lip and I would have very little chance of advancing the ball forward because the ball is so close to that lip (which is probably what the course designer wanted). Would I chance a sideways sand shot out, or take the 1 stroke penalty and play on from there? If the grass was great in the area I could take a penalty drop from, I figure I'd probably just use that option. It takes thinning a sand shot and sending it into the trees or fatting the sand shot and leaving it in the bunker out of the equation. That doesn't seem right to me...
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I am leaning towards a "no" on this one. Although, I think it would make sense to require a "drop" in all relief/penalty situations other than in sand. If it's in the sand, you could "place" the ball. We got new bunkers at my home course late last year and the sand is VERY fluffy. Dropping a ball from shoulder height would give you a fried egg every time..

Wouldn't you get a fried egg also if your ball lands in the bunker from high aloft? So what's the difference?

An example. You hit your ball in the heavy rough but unfortunately your ball enters a bush and you cannot make a stroke at it. So you take an unplayable and drop your ball in the thick rough away from the bush. Now you got yourself 1 PS but your ball is still in that thick rough and it is very difficult to get a decent shot at it. What is the difference between this example and the one you wrote?

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Erik's is an old argument that goes nowhere. Allowing a drop outside of a bunker obviates the requirement for a golfer to develop the necessary skill to extricate himself from this type of hazard. The contention that bunkers filled with sand deserve the same treatment under the Rules as low areas filled with water or patches of cactus or poison ivy won't fly.

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Erik's is an old argument that goes nowhere. Allowing a drop outside of a bunker obviates the requirement for a golfer to develop the necessary skill to extricate himself from this type of hazard. The contention that bunkers filled with sand deserve the same treatment under the Rules as low areas filled with water or patches of cactus or poison ivy won't fly.

But the golfer will incur a one stroke penalty with the drop outside.  If the player wants to par the hole, they will learn to hit a sand shot from a good lie to eliminate the penalty. @iacas is referring to the situation where the player has an unplayable lie in a bunker, not a nice lie in a bunker or even a marginal lie where they can get a good stance for the shot.  When I think of unplayable, I think of plugged next to the lip or similar where you may only have a chance to even get the ball out of the lie.

A fried egg or plugged lie where you can get a good stance is not the situation I would take the drop.  I know I can get the ball out of the bunker with this kind of lie.  But I also know I won't have distance control.

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When I think of unplayable, I think of plugged next to the lip or similar where you may only have a chance to even get the ball out of the lie.

Be that as it may, a player may deem his ball unplayable from any lie at any time........except in a water hazard.

The more I think about it, the recommended change that I would make would be to allow a player to deem his ball unplayable in a water hazard if he wished, subject to the same limitations as found in a bunker.  Very simple and it solves the perception of inequity between different types of hazards.

A fried egg or plugged lie where you can get a good stance is not the situation I would take the drop.  I know I can get the ball out of the bunker with this kind of lie.  But I also know I won't have distance control.

You have a skill level better than that of many golfers though......

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Be that as it may, a player may deem his ball unplayable from any lie at any time........except in a water hazard.

The more I think about it, the recommended change that I would make would be to allow a player to deem his ball unplayable in a water hazard if he wished, subject to the same limitations as found in a bunker.  Very simple and it solves the perception of inequity between different types of hazards.

You have a skill level better than that of many golfers though......

This is a bit off topic but I'm not saying I am "wicked good" at those kind of lies.  But I know that with some effort I can get out of the bunker.  I use more of a punch shot with a buried lie or fried egg hitting down and behind the ball.  I can control direction but not really distance.  And because I can usually hit in the direction of the green or pin, I would not take a drop.

Under the lip is another story.  I had one three weeks ago on a par 3.  There was really no way to get the ball up and out of the bunker.  I could not go sideways either.  I did not take a drop in the bunker, but instead chopped it out of the lie so it rolled back into the bunker.  I was able to get up and down for a bogey from the good lie.  It worked out better in that case than dropping in the bunker because the ball rolled to its new lie and sat up.  If I had dropped, it would have buried a bit unless I dropped in on the upslope and hoped for it to roll back.

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Under the lip is another story.  I had one three weeks ago on a par 3.  There was really no way to get the ball up and out of the bunker.  I could not go sideways either.  I did not take a drop in the bunker, but instead chopped it out of the lie so it rolled back into the bunker.  I was able to get up and down for a bogey from the good lie.  It worked out better in that case than dropping in the bunker because the ball rolled to its new lie and sat up.  If I had dropped, it would have buried a bit unless I dropped in on the upslope and hoped for it to roll back.

This.

No need for a change of R28.

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Wouldn't you get a fried egg also if your ball lands in the bunker from high aloft? So what's the difference?

More often than not the answer is no. Usually the ball will take one time hop and you end up with an ok lie. Of course, some will end up fried, but not most. With a proper drop (ball at shoulder level and dropped straight down), I would guess that I'd get a fried egg EVERY time. I don't care that much about it, as the situation happens so rarely, but placing the ball just makes more sense. (All this is OT, so I'll bow out now)

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You have a skill level better than that of many golfers though......

That is the challenge of golf.

Why do people want to make it easier?

We'll end up,with joint driving range/putting green complexes for those who don't relish a skills challenge.

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On May 17, 2014 at 10:29 AM, Rulesman said:

That is the challenge of golf.

Why do people want to make it easier?

We'll end up,with joint driving range/putting green complexes for those who don't relish a skills challenge.

If there were more practice areas with bunkers, the average player may be better at sand shots.

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The game of golf has a few basics ... a player who respects, enjoys and takes pride in his game knows that several types of strokes are expected of him.

He'll need to be able to hit the ball off the tee and not have it veer off of the golf course and he'll need to hit a variety of shots off of perfect and imperfect lies in the grass.

He'll have to figure out how to putt and lastly, should an errant shot end up in a bunker, he must have the skill to extricate himself without resorting to picking up the ball with his hand and dropping it onto some cushy patch of grass at the cost of a mere one penalty stroke.

Erik's heart is in the right place, but ....

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