- Penalties for violating Rule 28: Match play – loss of hole. Stroke play – two strokes.
Golf Rule 28, Ball Unplayable – Simplified Version
28-1. Unless his ball is in a water hazard, a golfer can declare the ball unplayable anywhere on the course. The player has complete discretion over this decision.
To take relief from an unplayable lie, the player adds a one-stroke penalty and:
Proceeds under the stroke-and-distance method (plays from a spot as close as possible to the original shot); or
Drops at a spot behind the unplayable lie, keeping that point between his ball and the hole. He can go back as far as he wants on this line; or
Drops within two club-lengths of the unplayable lie, no nearer the hole.
If the ball is unplayable in a bunker, any of the three methods is acceptable. If taking a drop, it must be in the bunker.
When taking relief from an unplayable lie, the player can lift and clean the ball or substitute another ball.
The player may deem his ball unplayable at any place on the course, except when the ball is in a water hazard. The player is the sole judge as to whether his ball is unplayable.
If the unplayable ball is in a bunker, the player may proceed under Clause a, b or c. If he elects to proceed under Clause b or c, a ball must be dropped in the bunker.
When proceeding under this Rule, the player may lift and clean his ball or substitute a ball.