At The Open Championship referees spend hours poring over every inch of the course and familiarising themselves with complicated dropping scenarios involving metal fencing, grandstands and temporary immovable obstructions like TV towers, but the situation that crops up more than any other is the plain, old unplayable ball (Rule 28).


Under Rule 28 the player may deem his ball unplayable at any place on the golf course, except in a water hazard. And the player is the sole judge as to whether he has an unplayable ball.


If the player deems his ball unplayable, he must, under penalty of one stroke:

  1. play a ball from where he last played from; or
  2. drop a ball any distance behind the point where the ball lay keeping a straight line between the hole, the point where the ball lay and the spot on which the ball is dropped; or
  3. drop a ball within two club-lengths of the spot where the ball lay, but not nearer the hole.


If the unplayable ball is in a bunker, the player may proceed under clause a, b or c. However, if he elects to proceed under b or c, the ball must be dropped in the bunker. So, the only option that will get you out of the bunker is option a, assuming you last played from a spot outside the bunker that is. Easy.