Without fail on any given Saturday, sometimes on a Tuesday too, Nick and his fellow Professionals are asked to clarify a Rule. Most of the time we get the Rules of Golf right but now and again we either get it wrong or are not sure we have got it right. We invariably look to Nick for clarification after the round. In this series of posts, Nick explains the correct ruling from one of the more interesting questions he has been asked over the last few weeks. This one concerns
“Ball embedded in the face of a bunker”
Question: Nick I was playing the 8th and my ball embedded itself in the face of the right hand bunker (I even took a picture of it). I said I was entitled to relief, without penalty, outside the bunker but my partner said no you drop in the bunker and play from there. Who was right and where is the correct spot to drop ?
Answer: You were right. The definition of a bunker says in part – “Grass covered ground bordering or within a bunker, including a stacked turf face (whether grass covered or earthen) is not part of a bunker”
There is also a local St Enodoc rule on this topic (and which can be found on the website under “Extras” - “Local Rules in Effect”) This says – Relief for Embedded Ball - Through the green, a ball which is embedded in its own pitch mark in the ground, other than sand, may be lifted without penalty, cleaned and dropped as near as possible to where it lay but not nearer the hole. The ball when dropped must first strike a part of the course through the green (i.e. not in a water hazard or bunker)
Now the difficulty on the 8th hole is to find a place to drop and where the ball will not either end up in the bunker or more than two clubs length away from the nearest point of relief. In all probability this will entail placing the ball, after two attempts at droping the ball, on the edge of the bunker.
An embedded ball say in the grass lip of the left hand greenside bunker on the 7th hole will only be entitled to relief if it is truly “embedded”, otherwise play it as it lies or declare it unplayable. For a ball to be considered embedded, it must be in its own pitch mark with part of the ball below the level of the soil. In many cases at St Enodoc a ball may appear to be embedded when in fact it is just deeply buried in moss or long grass without being below the level of the ground.