- It is against the rules to let the clubhead touch the sand in the bunker as you address the ball or during the course of your backswing. Doing so will result in a penalty stroke. So be sure to keep your clubhead a good distance above the sand as you attempt your shot.
- If you have ever landed your ball in a puddle in a bunker, you may have felt helpless. However, the opposite is true. If your ball lands in a bunker that is completely waterlogged, you have three options.
- You can play your ball as it lies, getting wet in the process.
- You can remove the ball and place it in the shallowest part of the water in the bunker (but no closer to the hole).
- You can completely remove the ball from the bunker and take a drop outside the bunker. However, doing so will result in a penalty stroke as you have just deemed your submerged ball as in an unplayable lie.
- There are always times where you find you and your buddies hit your balls in the same spot. Most of the time it is not a problem, but in the bunker, you never know what the sand will do. If you have two balls in the bunker you have some options as well.
- If you feel that one shot will not affect the others lie, then play on as you normally would.
- If not, decide which of the two is most practical to play first. Lift the other ball out of the way and mark it with a tee peg.
- Once the ball is hit, replace the second ball in the exact condition as it was in when you picked it up. If it was a perfect lie, rake the sand then replace it. If it was a plugged ball, it must be plugged upon replacement.
- Last, I think we all have landed a ball up against a bunker rake before, it happens far too often. If your ball comes to rest against a rake you are entitled to relief.
- Before you lift and move the rake out of the way, if there is a chance that your ball might move, mark it with a tee peg.
- Remember that you are allowed to PLACE your ball in the sand when you replace it in the sand, recreating the original lie as accurately as possible.
- You are not required to drop the ball in the sand.
When Playing Your Shot
- You can play your ball as it lies without any penalty. This is the most difficult shot since the ball is either submerged very deeply under water, or it can just be very messy. The only time that playing the shot is best is if the ball is lying in the grassy area surrounding the water within the hazard. Remember, you may not ground the club prior to your shot, like in a bunker, not can you make contact with the hazard while taking your practice swing.
- Next, you may drop the ball behind the hazard directly behind where it entered the hazard. You must keep the point of entry directly between the hole and where you drop the ball. Taking a drop will result in a one stroke penalty. But at least you can stay dry. This option is most popular since most balls shot into a water hazard cannot be found or retrieved.
- Your third option is to go back to the spot where you played the offending shot, known as a stroke-and-distance penalty. You must add a stroke to your score, and forfeit the distance gained as well.
- You may drop the ball within two club lengths of the point where the ball last crossed the boundary of the hazard.
- You may also drop the ball at the point opposite side of the hazard also within two club lengths.
Being able to judge how the golf ball will behave when playing a chip shot is just as important as the shot itself. Spin, trajectory, and roll factor into effectively getting the ball to land close to the hole or preferably in the hole.
The lie of the ball has a significant impact on its flight through the air. A bare lie or one where there is little or no grass beneath the ball or where the grass is tightly mown, produces a lower than normal ball flight.
Upslope Impact: Using a less lofted club on an upslope results in a shorter, softer swing making it easier to control the distance of the ball. Position the ball forward in your stance. The ball will shoot forward on a fairly low trajectory with little backspin making it easier to judge how far the ball with run.
Downslope Impact: On a downslope lie, the ball generally comes out on a low trajectory, making it difficult to control. Select a club with as much loft as possible to compensate. Generally, a sand wedge does the job. It provides some additional control while creating enough elevation on the ball to ensure a soft landing. Position the ball back in your stance.
The Drill: Before chipping, visualize the shot taking into account what the ball will do; identify an exact landing spot, preferably on the green to get an even bounce; and select the club that best fits the lie.
Are there situations where you are allowed to adjust the area around your ball? Yes, on the teeing ground it is permissible to step down the grass around your ball or even remove grass from the area within infringing on the basic rule….play the ball as it lies.
When playing golf, it’s key to verify before hitting a ball that it is indeed your ball. If it’s not your ball, you could incur penalty strokes. When your ball lands in the fairway, you can generally easily identify your ball by its logo and markings. In other situations, your ball may be more difficult to identify due to thick rough, fescue, or the like. The rules of golf do allow you to “touch” or “bend” the grasses around your ball to identify it. However, this must be done without improving your lie. In the event your ball is “buried” in the rough, you are permitted to lift ball to identify that it is yours. To do this without penalty, first mark the location of your ball with a tee, lift the ball, identify it, and then place the ball in the original location (identified by the “tee” marking). Before lifting your ball, tell your playing partners what you are going to do so that they can oversee your actions and eliminate any question about the possibility of improving your lie.
- Before walking to your ball, anticipate your lie and situation, bring an extra club to ensure you are prepared.
- While others are hitting, plan your shot and be ready to hit when it’s your turn.
- Record your score on the next tee, not on the green that you just finished playing.
- Always keep an eye on your ball and your partner’s ball.
- Identify a landscape marker to help you remember where yours or your partner’s ball landed.
- If you think your ball may be lost, hit a provisional ball; avoid looking for your ball, identifying it lost, and having to go back to hit another ball.
- A good way to judge your pace of play, is to stay in pace with the group ahead of you. If they are not in sight and the group behind you is waiting, it’s time to pick up your group’s pace.
- If the group behind you is a smaller group, and your group is lagging, allow the group behind to play through. It’s then your job to keep pace with that group.
- Be aware of delays on the green. If your shot is within “making” distance, ask your fellow players if you can putt out. This will eliminate unnecessary delays to remark your ball. If you do putt out, be sure not to stand in any other players putting line.
- When playing a casual round of golf, if your strokes exceed double the par value for that hole, pick up your ball to keep the group moving.
Tips for hitting out of a divot…
- Your stance should be centered with your weight slightly left.
- Keep your lower body stable and avoid shifting your weight during the swing.
- Position the ball toward the back of your stance; this will help you hit the ball with a descending stroke.
- Position your hands slightly ahead of the ball.
- Aim slightly left of your target; this helps you create more of a V shaped swing.
- When taking your stroke, come down on the ball at a steeper angle so that you avoid hitting the grass at behind the divot.
- Keep your clubface square to the ball’s path of flight.
- Remember to hit the ball first…..not the ground. Hit the ball in the downward portion of your swing….not the upward motion.