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Ask for a Ruling with Cory Armstrong (Jan. 8, 2010)

QMy ball came to rest in a sandy area classified as a waste bunker.- Lefty, Little River

A | The lie was very muddy, and when I took my stance, water crept up around my shoes. My ball was only six inches away from the fairway, and that's where my nearest point of relief from the casual water was.

My fellow competitors said I could not move my ball from the waste bunker to the fairway. I think they're wrong because waste bunkers are through the green too. What do you say?

ALefty, I think some of the confusion of the situation comes from the term "waste bunker." Bunkers are hazards, and the sandy areas to which you refer are not. It would be clearer to call them "sandy areas through the green." Professional organizations often identify these areas with blue stakes.

So, since your ball was not in a hazard (or on a putting green or on the teeing ground), you should take a look at Rule 25-1b(i) Abnormal Ground Conditions; Relief Through the Green. It says:

"If the ball lies through the green, the player must lift the ball and drop it, without penalty, within one club-length of and not nearer the hole than the nearest point of relief. The nearest point of relief must not be in a hazard or on a putting green. When the ball is dropped within one club-length of the nearest point of relief, the ball must first strike a part of the course at a spot that avoids interference by the condition and is not in a hazard and not on a putting green."

If anyone's unsure about the definition of "through the green," please visit www.usga.org/Rule-Books/Rules-of-Golf/Rules-and-Decisions.

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