I have so much fun showing ladies how to use stroke-and-distance to win a Louis Vuitton purse!  

When your ball is in a bunker and you don’t care to play it from there (either because it’s plugged, or perhaps on a downhill lie, uphill lie or up against the lip of the bunker, or you just hate hitting out of bunkers!) you may take penalty relief for an unplayable ball under Rule 19.3.

Your options under Rule 19.3 include lateral relief inside the bunker, back-on-the-line inside the bunker, and stroke-and-distance. All three of these cost just a one stroke penalty. 

There’s also a newer relief option for back-on-the-line outside the bunker, which costs a two stroke penalty, and many players confuse this one with stroke-and-distance. Some players are under the impression both of those options outside the bunker cost two strokes, which is not the case.

During my golf rules clinics in both the Girlfriends Golf Experience and The More Confident Golf Experience, we go over the stroke-and-distance rule many, many times in a variety of ares of the course. This helps players understand how very helpful Rule 18.1 is.  The option to take stroke-and-distance relief for just a one stroke penalty is available to you at any time, anywhere on the course. 

Here’s the specific wording for Rule 18.1:

At any time, a player may take stroke-and-distance relief by adding one penalty stroke and playing the original ball or another ball from where the previous stroke was made (see Rule 14.6).

The player always has this stroke-and-distance relief option:

  • No matter where the player’s ball is on the course, and
  • Even when a Rule requires the player to take relief in a certain way or to play a ball from a certain place.

Once the player puts another ball in play under penalty of stroke-and-distance, the original ball is no longer in play and must not be played.  This is true even if the original ball is then found on the course before the end of the three-minute search time.

See more details about this rule at USGA: 

And don’t forget to subscribe to our Golf Rules School Podcast, follow me on Instagram and Facebook, and subscribe to my my YouTube channel for more videos! 

Marcela launched Girlfriends Guide To Golf and her On-Course Rules Experiences to grow the game, help women learn the rules of golf, and feel more confident out on the course.

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