Representing the ROYAL BRITISH CLUB Golfers
If my ball lands in the un raked footprint of another player in the bunker, do I get a free drop?
Yes, you are allowed to take relief from an abnormal ground condition in a bunker under the Rules of Golf. An abnormal ground condition can include things like a hole, animal hole, ground under repair, or immovable obstruction, among others.
If you find yourself in a bunker with an abnormal ground condition, you may take relief under Rule 16.1. Here's how it works:
Identify the nearest point of complete relief from the abnormal ground condition. This is the spot where your ball would not be in or on the condition and where there is no interference from the condition for your intended swing.
Drop a ball within one club length of that spot, no nearer the hole.
You may then play the ball from the location where it comes to rest after the drop.
It's important to note that you are not allowed to smooth the sand or otherwise improve the area where you are taking relief, and you must take complete relief - if you can't find a spot where you have complete relief, you must choose another option under the Rules. Additionally, taking relief from an abnormal ground condition typically results in a one-stroke penalty, unless the condition is caused by an animal or is on the putting green.