THE RULES EVERY GOLFER SHOULD KNOW
Casual water in bunkers – Rule 25-1
and not nearer the hole than the “nearest point of relief” in the bunker.
If complete relief is impossible and there is nowhere within the bunker where you can drop the ball in accordance with Rule 25-1b, you may take “maximum available relief” from the casual water, again without penalty.
This “maximum available relief” applies to both lie and stance, so it may be that your ball is clear of the casual water, while you may still be standing in it. You should drop your ball in the bunker as near as possible to the spot where your ball lay, but not nearer the hole, at the spot that affords you maximum available relief. When taking relief under these circumstances, it’s worth remembering that there is no one club-length dropping area.
Alternatively, under penalty of one stroke, you may drop outside the bunker keeping the point where the ball lay directly in line with the hole, If complete relief is not possible, you may take maximum available relief without penalty with no limit as to how far behind the bunker the ball may be dropped. It would be fair to say that we receive more Rules queries about the fairness or otherwise of this scenario than anything else! And yes, on the face of it, it may seem unfair that you should incur a penalty of one stroke if you choose to, or have no option but to, drop outside the bunker.
But it’s a question of balance, and it must be remembered that bunkers are hazards that at times can be very penal, especially on links courses. To drop the ball outside of the bunker, the player needs to buy this right with a penalty stroke as the Rules do not permit the player to drop outside of a hazard without penalty. This seeks to strike the right balance between the seeming unfairness of a penalty drop, and the likely ease of the next shot from outside the bunker relative to how difficult it may have been from within the bunker had the bunker not been flooded.
ith the sheer volume of rain that has fallen across many parts of the country in early summer 2016, many courses have been suffering from high water tables that have left bunkers partially or completely flooded. So what can you do when you find your...