Question: Tim hits a long shot into the fourth green at his home course. He tells his playing partner, Ralph, that he thinks his shot landed in the bunker. After a brief search they discover a ball almost completely buried in the face of the bunker. Tim says he thinks it’s his ball, but he is not sure since it is covered almost completely with sand. As Tim gets ready to hit the ball from the bunker, Ralph tells him that he can brush away enough sand to positively identify the ball as his. Tim does so and says it is his ball. He proceeds to hit his next shot. Did they follow the proper procedure?
Answer: Yes and no. Ralph was correct that Tim is allowed to move enough sand to identify his ball but after doing so, Tim should have recreated the lie by recovering the ball with sand. He is allowed to leave a small part of the ball visible. Tim incurred a two-stroke penalty since he did not recreate the original lie.
Tip of the day: You are allowed to identify your ball anywhere on the course. If you need to lift the ball in order to do so, be sure to mark its position before lifting and have your playing partner or opponent observe your actions. This way, you will avoid a one-stroke penalty.
As always, have fun playing and practicing the game of golf. Join us at Sapelo Hammock on Monday evenings for our continuous learning sessions. E-mail me at email@example.com with questions or suggestions.