Virginia Golfer May / June 2015 - Page 6

Sand Solutions The Rules of Golf offer guidance when a ball comes to rest in a sandy area or bunker | by CRAIG WINTER C hambers Bay, host site of the undoubtedly see practice swings through the 115th U.S. Open Championship, sand, players lightly grounding their club as is rare in championship golf in they prepare to play their upcoming stroke that the property does not have as well as players and caddies removing loose a single water hazard that will impediments. Because Rule 13-4 only applies come into play. However, its defenses are when the ball is in a hazard, all of these things obvious to anyone who has seen the course or may be done without penalty. knows the site’s history as the largest sand and gravel mine in the nation: hit the fairway or putting green, or face A golfer may touch the sand in a bunker in the unpredictability of a sand-based lie. order to search for and While the challenges of playing identify his or her ball. strokes out of the sand are self-evident, the subtle differences under the rules require some explanation. In advance of the U.S. Open, consider this your brief refresher on the Rules of Golf as they relate to the many sandy areas at Chambers Bay. For most actions you might consider (e.g., grounding your club, removing loose impediments or deeming your ball unplayable), your first order of business from a Rules of Golf perspective is to determine whether your ball has come to rest through the green or in a bunker. At most courses, sandy areas only exist within bunkers. However, if you play at a course like Chambers Bay that has an abundance of sand, some of Knowing whether your ball lies through which is located through the green, be sure to the green or in a hazard is important for a check on how the Committee has determined number of rules, including Rule 28 (Ball which areas are through the green and which Unplayable). This rule provides three oneare bunkers. stroke penalty relief options to get your If you determine that your ball lies in a ball out of a difficult position. Option A bunker (which is a hazard under the rules), is the same throughout the course while you will need to heed the restrictions of Options B and C are more restrictive when Rule 13-4 (Ball in Hazard; Prohibited Actions). your ball is in a bunker. This rule has three restrictions. First, you may Option A (Rule 28a) allows you to go back not test the condition of the bunker or any to where you last played from and re-play, similar bunke Ȁ