Declare it unplayable anywhere but in a water hazard

Here’s a strange quirk in the rules and something Aussie Golfer has never really thought of before. A golfer can declare the ball unplayable anywhere on the golf course except in a water hazard. This means that a player can declare a ball just hit into a bunker unplayable, even if it is perfectly playable!

And according to the rules from the R&A, the player is sole judge on whether a ball is unplayable.

The player takes a one shot penalty and has 3 options according to rule 28:

1) drop and play as near as possible to where the original ball was last played,
2) drop a ball behind the point where the ball lay, keeping that point directly between the hole and the spot on which the ball is dropped, or
3) drop a ball within two club-lengths of the spot where the ball lay, but not nearer the hole.

There’s a catch with this for the ball declared unplayable in a bunker. If the player chooses options 2 or 3, the ball must be dropped in the bunker.

Probably an option for bad bunker players but somehow it feels like this contradicts the spirit of the game.

One thought on “Declare it unplayable anywhere but in a water hazard

  • Really interesting and thanks for the heads up. May have to use this rule this weekend as I’m playing on a course with a ton of trees


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