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Swindon

Casual Water in a Bunker Question

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Ended up in a trap half full of water from yesterday's rain (see pic).  Ball stopped in water at this end of the trap.  Rules say I can take relief from casual water with a drop elsewhere in the hazard no closer to the hole, but as you can see from the photo, there's nowhere in this trap I could drop out of the water without being closer to the hole.  Do I drop in the far end of the trap (closer to the hole), or back out of the trap on the grass (no closer the hole, but now no longer in the hazard)?

 

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The Rules give you two options:

1:

Quote

Without penalty, in accordance with Clause (i) above, except that the nearest point of relief must be in the bunker and the ball must be dropped in the bunker or, if complete relief is impossible, as near as possible to the spot where the ball lay, but not nearer the hole, on a part of the course in the bunker that affords maximum available relief from the condition; or 

2:

Quote

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.

1 says that if complete relief is not available, you only get to drop at the area with maximum available relief.

2 says that, if you don't want to do that, you can drop out of the bunker for a penalty of one stroke.


This rule, IIRC, is essentially the same in the 2019 rules, too.

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Here's the actual rule:

Quote

(ii)

In a Bunker: If the ball is in a bunker, the player must lift the ball and drop it either:

(a)

Without penalty, in accordance with Clause (i) above, except that the nearest point of relief must be in the bunker and the ball must be dropped in the bunker or, if complete relief is impossible, as near as possible to the spot where the ball lay, but not nearer the hole, on a part of the course in the bunker that affords maximum available relief from the condition; or

(b)

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.

So you could drop it in the bunker, no closer to the hole, in a spot that does NOT get you complete relief from the water.  If that's not possible, you could drop outside the bunker, and take a penalty stroke.  You could also, quite reasonably in my opinion, play as if this bunker is "ground under repair" and drop the ball at the nearest point of relief outside the bunker, with no penalty.  In a proper competition, you'd be best to check with the Committee, or play two balls and check later before you post your score.

Well, I looked further, and the bit I underlined above isn't quite right.  It wouldn't be classed as GUR, but there COULD be a local rule allowing relief without penalty from specific flooded bunkers..  

Edited by DaveP043

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4 minutes ago, DaveP043 said:

So you could drop it in the bunker, no closer to the hole, in a spot that does NOT get you complete relief from the water.  If that's not possible, you could drop outside the bunker, and take a penalty stroke.  You could also, quite reasonably in my opinion, play as if this bunker is "ground under repair" and drop the ball at the nearest point of relief outside the bunker, with no penalty.  In a proper competition, you'd be best to check with the Committee, or play two balls and check later before you post your score.

I disagree that it's GUR and thus a free drop.

Abnormal ground conditions include GUR. Even when the bunker is completely filled with water, 25-1b/8 gives you the same two options. Plus:

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.

The text continues on from there to stress that only in super duper extreme circumstances should that be done.

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@iacas, I'm laughing, I managed to find the correct decision while you were typing.  I knew I had seen it, I just replied initially before I had done the complete research.

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Committees abuse that particular one all the time. I've seen high school matches, college tournaments, etc. where they just declare all bunkers as GUR with free drops out of the bunkers.

Oh well.

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So with no local rule in place, and nowhere to drop in the bunker no closer the hole that isn't under water, the only option is to drop outside the bunker with a penalty stroke?

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2 minutes ago, Swindon said:

So with no local rule in place, and nowhere to drop in the bunker no closer the hole that isn't under water, the only option is to drop outside the bunker with a penalty stroke?

You could always play it as it lies as well.

Hard to tell from the pic just how deep the water is and where in the water your ball was.

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9 minutes ago, Swindon said:

So with no local rule in place, and nowhere to drop in the bunker no closer the hole that isn't under water, the only option is to drop outside the bunker with a penalty stroke?

Again, you have three options.

  1. Play it as it lies.
  2. Take maximum available relief in the bunker for free (i.e. if your ball is in 3" of water, drop in 1" of water).
  3. Take the penalty stroke and take it out of the bunker.

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1 minute ago, klineka said:

You could always play it as it lies as well.

Hard to tell from the pic just how deep the water is and where in the water your ball was.

Deepest part was approx. 6 inches deep, and of course that's where by ball was.

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1 minute ago, iacas said:

Then you had maximum available relief elsewhere.

Agree.  So if I drop in the shallowest part of the water, but then the ball rolls back down to the deepest part, can I place the ball in the shallow part?

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5 minutes ago, Swindon said:

Agree.  So if I drop in the shallowest part of the water, but then the ball rolls back down to the deepest part, can I place the ball in the shallow part?

See Rule 20.

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I understand that rules are rules but this particular situation is common at one course I play.  It seems unduly harsh.  I'm not griping...just saying.  Fortunately, I've played the course enough times to know which traps have likely morphed into water hazards, overnight, and can plan shots accordingly.

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1 minute ago, Piz said:

I understand that rules are rules but this particular situation is common at one course I play.  It seems unduly harsh.  I'm not griping...just saying.  Fortunately, I've played the course enough times to know which traps have likely morphed into water hazards, overnight, and can plan shots accordingly.

Bunkers are hazards.

Even though the word "hazard" goes away in 2019, they didn't soften this rule at all. Shows you what they think, then.

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8 hours ago, iacas said:

I disagree that it's GUR and thus a free drop.

Abnormal ground conditions include GUR. Even when the bunker is completely filled with water, 25-1b/8 gives you the same two options. Plus:

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.

The text continues on from there to stress that only in super duper extreme circumstances should that be done.

I think that you gloss over some key wording in the decision:

Quote

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 rounds.

Basically, the only prohibition is that the committee cannot make a general rule applying to random bunkers.  The LR must specify which bunkers it applies to.  If playability is significantly compromised for certain bunkers, then the local rule is allowed, and quite appropriate.  In a case where the issue is widespread, I think that the mostly likely recommendation would be to cancel or postpone the competition. 

In the case mentioned above by @Piz, the issue appears to be a flaw in the course design, and the rules are not generally expected to address such issues.

Edited by Fourputt

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8 minutes ago, Fourputt said:

I think that you gloss over some key wording in the decision:

No, I didn't.

Committees are strongly encouraged not to use the local rule, and the bunker in question wasn't completely flooded.

We had a fairly extensive discussion about this over lunch at the first USGA/PGA rules seminar I attended.

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