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Ask for a ruling with Cory Armstrong (July 30)

Q The other day, my ball was in a bunker with not much sand in the bottom. I unfortunately thinned my shot, and the ball embedded in the lip of the bunker. Is the ball still in the bunker? - Zach (New London, N.C.)

AZach, we first need to look at part of the definition of a bunker. It says, "Grass-covered ground bordering or within a bunker, including a stacked turf face (whether grass-covered or earthen), is not part of the bunker. A wall or lip of the bunker not covered with grass is part of the bunker. The margin of a bunker extends vertically downwards, but not upwards." That means your ball is still considered to be in the bunker. Decision 13/4 concurs and also offers that an embedded ball is considered to be lying in the part of the course where it entered the ground; so, no matter how far it embeds in the bunker's lip, the ball is still in the bunker.

You must now either play the ball as it lies or deem it unplayable under Rule 28 and use one of the following three options under a penalty of one stroke:

a. Play a ball as nearly as possible at the spot from which the original ball was last played (see Rule 20-5);

b. 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, with no limit to how far behind that point the ball may be dropped;

c. Drop a ball within two club-lengths of the spot where the ball lay, but not nearer the hole.

Rule 28 says that if the unplayable ball is in a bunker and you wish to use options 'b' or 'c,' the ball must be dropped in the bunker. If you use option 'a,' in this instance, the ball must also be dropped in the bunker since that's where it was last struck. If your previous stroke was from outside the bunker, option 'a' would let you drop there.

Good luck in the future.