December 15, 2018

2019 Rules of Golf - Dropping Outside a Bunker

Rule 19 - Unplayable Ball

Unplayable Ball in a Bunker

Playing from a bunker can be difficult and it is not uncommon for a player to need to take unplayable ball relief in a bunker, if the ball is very close to the bunker wall, etc.

Currently, you can declare your ball unplayable anywhere on the course except when your ball is in a red or yellow marked penalty area. When your ball is in a bunker, you may take relief for an unplayable ball, but you must stay in the bunker unless you use the stroke and distance option and return to where you last played. 

Beginning in 2019, when your ball is in a bunker, there will be an extra option allowing relief outside the bunker for a total of two penalty strokes. You may declare your ball unplayable in a bunker and drop a ball using the back-on-the-line procedure (drop a ball “back on the line” outside the bunker keeping the point where the ball was in the bunker and the flagstick and heading back on a straight line).

This option will nearly always leave you behind the bunker, but it may prove the better option if your lie is very difficult, the bunker is nearly impossible to escape, or you just are not a decent bunker player.

When dropping “back on the line” you may drop a ball within one club-length of any spot on that straight line backwards. The ball must land in and come to rest in the one club-length area and no closer to the hole to the spot on the line that player picked or estimated.

Click here to watch a video on this new unplayable option.


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