Rule of the Week
Sept. 23, 2019

Special thanks to Richard Hordern for this week's Rules question.

Ball lies in a greenside bunker with temporary water.... now what do you do?

Situation and Question:

Your ball lands in a bunker adjacent to the putting green. A heavy rainfall overnight has left "
a temporary accumulation of water" everywhere in the bunker except for a high, narrow strip at the end which is where your ball lies. Presumably you are entitled to relief for your stance but complete relieve is not available without leaving the bunker. What are the player's options?


The ball is in the bunker which has a temporary accumulation of water, which is important as it is different from an unplayable ball.
  1. The player is entitled to Free Relief, if available, however as the ball is in the bunker it holds some special properties. A player cannot get out of the bunker without either:
    1. making a stroke, or
    2. proceeding under a rule (in Stroke play or similar format).
  2. In this case the player can stand in the water or take the "maximum" available relief possible, without penalty and play the ball in the water or having to stand in the water.
  3. If the players does not like this option, she/he can add 1 penalty stroke and take the ball back-on-the-line and drop a ball outside the bunker in the reference area.
  4. Neither of the options are great for the player but it is what the rules allow.
  5. See picture below for a description of the situation.

Happy golfing and remember the Rules of Golf matter!

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Authored by Brian Lee, Executive Director of Golf SK

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