Golf Rule 28, Ball Unplayable
    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.

  • Penalties for violating Rule 28: Match play – loss of hole. Stroke play – two strokes.
  • 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 player deems his ball to be unplayable, he must, under penalty of one stroke:a. Proceed under the stroke and distance provision of Rule 27-1 by playing a ball as nearly as possible at the spot from which the original ball was last played (see Rule 20-5); or
    b. Drop a ball behind the point where the ball lay, keeping that point directly between the hole and the spot on which the ball is dropped, with no limit to how far behind that point the ball may be dropped; or
    c. 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. 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.

    PENALTY FOR BREACH OF RULE:Match play – Loss of hole; Stroke play – Two strokes.