No.36 Water-filled Bunkers

A competitor's ball was seen to splash into deep casual water in a bunker, but it is not visible. However, it is obvious that there is nowhere that the player can drop a ball in the bunker that is not covered in water and is not nearer the hole.

Question 1:
a) Does the player have to find their ball if it is known to be in the bunker?
b) May the player take relief from the casual water, without penalty, by dropping a ball outside the bunker?
c) If the player finds the ball in the bunker may they take relief by dropping a ball at Y, which is the point where the water is shallowest?

a) No, Rule 25-1c.
b) No, but see Question 2 below.
c) Yes, providing that this is the point nearest to where the ball lay that is not nearer the hole and affords maximum available relief from the condition.

Note: If it is known or virtually certain that a ball that has not been found lies in casual water in a bunker, the player may substitute another ball, without penalty, and take relief as prescribed in Rule 25-1b(ii) (a).

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Question 2:
If the player can see their ball in the casual water at point X, where are they permitted to drop it outside the bunker, under penalty of one stroke?
a) At point A, within two club-lengths of the nearest point of relief from where the ball lies in the casual water?
b) Outside the bunker, anywhere on an extension of the line from b through B?
c) Within a club-length of point C, where the ball last crossed the margin of the bunker after the previous stroke?

b) Outside the bunker, anywhere on an extension of the line from b through B?

Note: When a player's ball is in a bunker and there is interference by casual water (or another abnormal ground condition) they have four options;
i) Play the ball as it lies in the water.
ii) Drop the ball in the bunker without penalty at the nearest point, not nearer the hole, where the depth of the casual water is least - Rule 25-1b (ii) (a).
iii) Drop the ball behind the bunker under penalty of one stroke - Rule 25-1b (ii) (b).
iv) Deem the ball unplayable and proceed in accordance with Rule 28. If the player elects to proceed under clause b or c of this Rule, they must drop a ball in the bunker.

If a ball to be dropped or placed under this Rule is not immediately recoverable, another ball may be substituted.

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

Good golfing,

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