Rules FAQs

Unplayable Ball

Unplayable Ball in Bunker

Q. I don’t think I can play my ball as it lies in the bunker (unplayable) – what are my options?

A. If you don’t want to or decide you can’t play your ball as it lies when your ball is in a bunker, you may decide it is unplayable. If you do this, you have four total options, and two will always require that you take relief inside the bunker. You have three one penalty stroke relief options. (1) You may play a ball from the spot of your previous stroke (if this spot was out of the bunker, this option gets you out of the bunker; but if your last stroke was from in the bunker, you must stay in the bunker) (see Rule 19.2a). (2) You may take back-on-the-line relief in the bunker (see Rule 19.2b). (3) You may drop in the bunker within two club-lengths of where your ball lies but not nearer to the hole (see Rule 19.2c). (4) Your fourth relief option comes with two penalty strokes – you may get out of the bunker using the back-on-the-line relief option (see Rule 19.3b).