MAY 11 - 2009

Our Club President, Jim Mosich, had an interesting rules situation while playing the 18th hole during the tin-whistle (weekly Friday Men's Club event).

One of the players in his group hit his second shot towards the bunker guarding the green, and when they arrived at the bunker, the ball was nowhere to be found. The entire group began digging and searching the spot (in the bunker) where ball appeared to enter. After searching for almost five minutes, the player's ball was finally located.

Two Rules of Golf are important to understand in this situation:

12-1. Searching for Ball; Seeing Ball

In a hazard, if a ball is believed to be covered by loose impediments or sand, the player may remove by probing or raking with a club or otherwise, as many loose impediments or as much sand as will enable him to see a part of the ball. If an excess is removed, there is no penalty and the ball must be re-covered so that only a part of the ball is visible. If the ball is moved during the removal, there is no penalty; the ball must be replaced and, if necessary, re-covered. As to removal of loose impediments outside a hazard, see Rule 23-1.

Under Definitions-

Lost Ball

A ball is deemed "lost" if:

a. It is not found or identified as his by the player within five minutes after the player's side or his or their caddies have begun to search for it; or

b. The player has made a stroke at a provisional ball from the place where the original ball is likely to be or from a point nearer the hole than that place (see Rule 27-2b); or

c. The player has put another ball into play under penalty of stroke and distance (see Rule 27-1a); or

d. The player has put another ball into play because it is known or virtually certain that the ball, which has not been found, has been moved by an outside agency (see Rule 18-1), is in an obstruction (see Rule 24-3), is in an abnormal ground condition (see Rule 25-1c) or is in a water hazard (see Rule 26-1); or

e. The player has made a stroke at a substituted ball.

Also, because Jim has extensive experience with the Rules, he immediately knew that they could use a club or even a rake to probe the sand.

Derek Duesler