Can a golfer move their ball out of a bunker with water in it?
Golf Culture

Can a golfer move their ball out of a bunker with water in it?



You're playing golf, and you find your ball in a bunker on the golf course. And it turns out, there's water in that bunker, and you ball is in the water in the bunker. Since there's normally only supposed to be sand in a bunker, does that mean a golfer can take their ball out of a bunker with water in it?

Can a golfer move their ball out of a bunker with water in it?

No, a golfer cannot take their ball out of a bunker with water in it -- whether or not their ball is in the watery part of the bunker. However, a golfer definitely does not have to their golf ball out of the water that's collected in a bunker, be it because of rain or a flood or another unusual condition.

Instead, a golfer can take complete relief from what's dubbed "temporary water," or water that's not normally there. However, unlike taking relief from temporary or casual water on other parts of the general area of the golf course (basically, where there's grass), a golfer cannot take their ball out of the bunker because it is considered a hazard. That means a golfer has to take relief while keeping their ball in the bunker.

To take relief in this situation, a golfer should identify the nearest area to their ball (no closer to the hole) that doesn't have water impacting their lie, stance or intended swing path. Then, a golfer should drop their ball in the clear sand and hit from there.

Now, if a bunker is absolutely filled with water or mostly filled with water, a golfer may not be able to take complete relief. However, the Rules of Golf then tell a golfer to take what's called "maximum" relief, to get as close as they can to hitting from sand instead of water and go from there.

If those options are no good, then a golfer can take a one-stroke penalty, pull their ball out of the bunker and drop the ball behind the bunker in between the hole and where their ball was in the bunker.

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