Rules in Focus - Flooded Bunkers

Rules in Focus

Flooded Bunkers

BunkerThe past 12 months were the second wettest on record in the UK, according to data released by the Met Office.  It is little wonder that flooded bunkers have become a common problem on golf courses in the UK and elsewhere due to inclement weather. The damage that flood water causes leaves many bunkers requiring renovation. This month, we take a look at your frequently asked questions pertaining to bunkers. 

What is the status of a recently renovated bunker that has been marked as ground under repair?

Currently, by default, if the entire bunker is defined as ground under repair (GUR) by the Committee, it loses its status as a hazard and is treated as “through the green” (see Decision 25/13).   Consequently, Rule 25-1b(i) applies when there is interference from a bunker defined as GUR.

As the ball is considered to lie through the green, for relief purposes under this Rule, the player must lift the ball and drop it, without penalty, within one club-length of, but not nearer the hole, than the nearest point of relief. The nearest point of relief will therefore be outside of the area marked as GUR (i.e. outside of the bunker).

Do I have to drop the ball behind the bunker and play back over it?

It is a common misconception that it is compulsory for the player to play back over the bunker when taking relief but this is not always the case.  The key is to find the nearest point of relief, which may be to the side or behind the bunker, depending on the ball’s original position and which point is closest.  The ball is then dropped, within one club-length of, but not nearer the hole, than the nearest point of relief.

Is it compulsory to take relief from a bunker that has been defined as GUR?

Relief is optional under Rule 25-1b(i).  However, if the Committee in charge wishes to protect the bunker and allow it time to repair, free from any play, it must stipulate in the Local Rules that the bunker is ground under repair from which play is prohibited.  As a result of prohibiting play from the GUR, the player must take relief when he has interference. So check the Local Rules before playing.

What are my options if my