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Rules of Golf

The USGA, in conjunction with The R&A in St. Andrews, Scotland, writes, interprets and maintains the Rules of Golf to guard the tradition and integrity of the game.The two organizations are joint authors and owners of The Rules of Golf and Decisions on the Rules of Golf.Through an agreement with The R&A, the Rules jurisdiction of the USGA includes only the United States, its possessions and Mexico.The latest version went into effect Jan. 1, 2012, with the next revision taking effect Jan. 1, 2016.

Golf Rule 28 - Ball Unplayable

BALL UNPLAYABLE: The player and the player only can declare his own ball unplayable anywhere on the course except in a water hazard.

BALL UNPLAYABLE OPTIONS (one- stroke penalty applies)

(i) Play another ball at or as nearly as possible to the spot the original ball was last played.
(ii) No nearer the hole, drop a ball within two-club lengths from the spot the ball lay.
(iii) Drop a ball behind the spot the ball lay on an imaginary line created by the hole and the spot the ball lay as endpoints. There is no limit how far back the player goes on this line to drop as long as the ball is not dropped nearer the hole than the spot the ball lay.

BUNKER OPTIONS--the player may choose any of the above options (one-stroke penalty), however if he chooses the second two options, the ball must be dropped in the bunker. The only way to drop the ball out of the bunker is to choose the first option and dropping back at the spot the ball was last played (stroke and distance).

NOTE--If following one of the options of this rule, the ball may be cleaned when lifted.