BUNKERS can not only be difficult to get out of at times they can also be a minefield when it comes to the Rules of Golf.
One of our readers, Andrew Janiak, obviously had a lively discussion with his playing partner over a bunker incident and the interpretation of the rules during a recent round.
We asked Phil Green, a State Accredited Rules Official and the Club Captain at Jamberoo Golf Club, to reply.
Here’s the question:
I wonder if you can help us to solve this problem.
During Saturday game my partner’s ball was stopped by the rake in the bunker. The rake was left close to the lip of the bunker on the very steep slope. Obviously when he removed the rake the ball moved. He tried to replace the ball, but the slope was too steep and the ball always rolled down. Then he placed the ball on the flat spot below its original position where the ball hasn’t moved. I said that this was incorrect because the ball was on the moveable obstruction (not next to it) and it had to be dropped in the bunker not closer to the hole.
Who was right?
And Phil Green’s reply:
“The confusion here probably arose because Rule 20-3d (ii )says that if a ball when placed fails to come to rest on the spot on which it was placed, there is no penalty and the ball must be replaced. If it still fails to come to rest on that spot in a hazard, it must be placed in the hazard at the nearest spot where it can be placed at rest that is not nearer the hole.
However, the correct Rule is Rule 24-1b which states that if a ball lies in or on the obstruction, the ball may be lifted and the obstruction removed. The ball must through the green or in a hazard be dropped, or on the putting green be placed, as near as possible to the spot directly under the place where the ball lay in or on the obstruction, but not nearer the hole.
If after dropping the ball, it rolls more than 2 club lengths from where it first struck part of the course, or rolls and comes to rest nearer the hole than its original position, it must be re-dropped.
If after re-dropping, it rolls into any position as described above, it must then be placed as near as possible to the spot where it first struck part of the course when re-dropped.
So in the situation as described, the ball should have been dropped as near as possible to the spot directly under where the ball lay on the obstruction. If it then rolled more than 2 clublengths and came to rest, it must be re-dropped. If it again rolled more than 2 clublengths, it must then be placed on the spot where it struck the bunker on the re-drop. If after placing, it rolled down the slope, then it must be placed in the hazard at the nearest spot where it can be placed at rest no nearer the hole.
The full procedure must be followed, i.e. the two drops, then placing, then placing in a different spot if it fails to come to rest.
I hope this clarifies things for your readers.”