No.23 Is the Ball in the Bunker?


Question 1:
In the photo above a player's ball lies completely on sand;
a) Is the ball in the bunker?
b) May the player ground their club in the bunker in preparing to make a stroke at the ball?
c) In the absence of any Local Rule may the stone be removed from the bunker before the player makes their stroke?
d) The player takes their stance in the bunker to play their ball lying just outside the bunker, but they do not ground their club. Before they commence their stroke, wind causes the ball to roll down into the bunker. Do they incur a penalty and do they have to play the next stroke from within the bunker where the ball came to rest?

Answer 1:
a) No, sand spilling over the margin of a bunker is not part of the bunker. Decision 13/1. As there is a definite ridge, with grass growing below where the ball is at rest, the intended margin of the bunker is obvious.
b) Yes, a player may ground their club in a bunker when their ball does not lie in that bunker. Rule 13-4.
c) Yes, a player may remove any loose impediment from a bunker when their ball does not lie in that bunker. Rule 23-1.
d) There is no penalty, as the player had not completed address of their ball and also did not cause their ball to move. They must play the ball from the bunker. Rule 18-1.
Note: When a ball lies outside of a bunker the player has not addressed his ball until they have grounded their club immediately behind the ball (Definition of Addressing the Ball). If the ball moves and it is due to wind or another element and not the player that has caused it to move, it must be played from where it comes to rest (Rule 18-2a).

Another 'Rhodes Rules School' Q&A will follow next week,

Good golfing,
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