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Rules of Golf Update - WEEK 6 - BUNKERS

Topic: General


This week we will revisit bunkers and look at other changes that affect this area. We will also look at restoring altered conditions to avoid a penalty.


· Removal of special restrictions on moving loose impediments: There is no longer a penalty if you touch or move loose impediments in a bunker.

· Relaxed restrictions on touching the sand with your hand or club when your ball is in a bunker: You are now prohibited only from touching the sand with your hand or club to test the condition of the bunker, with your club in the area right behind or in front of the ball or when making a practice swing or the backswing for your stroke.

· New unplayable ball relief option: For 2 penalty strokes, you may take relief outside the bunker by dropping a ball back on the line from the hole through where your ball was at rest in the bunker. Remember to mark the reference point when taking ‘back on the line’ relief.

Ball played as it lies

· Improving conditions affecting the stroke: A player is not allowed to improve the lie of their ball, area of intended stance or swing, line of play or relief area where they will drop or place a ball. They may not move, bend or break any:

i. Growing or attached natural object

ii. Immovable obstruction, integral object or boundary object

iii. Alter the surface of the ground

iv. Remove or press down sand or soil

v. Remove dew, frost or water

The penalty for doing so is the general penalty. This is a 2 stroke penalty in stroke play and loss of hole in match play.

· Restoring conditions affecting the stroke: If a player has improved conditions affecting a stroke by points i and ii above, the player may avoid the penalty by restoring branches and grass or replacing immovable obstruction and boundary objects to their original position. The improvement must be eliminated. Only the original objects may be used to restore the conditions.

Next week we will look at rule changes related to the player’s equipment.