Golf Australia

VIDEO: No penalty for moving loose impediments in bunker (0.46min)

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2019 Rule: Under Rules 12.2a and 12.2b, the player will be allowed to touch or move loose impediments in a bunker and will be generally allowed to touch the sand with a hand or club; but a limited prohibition continues so that the player must not:

  • Deliberately touch the sand in a bunker with a hand, club, rake or other object to test the condition of the sand to learn information for the stroke, or
  • Touch the sand in a bunker with a club in making a practice swing, in grounding the club right in front of or behind the ball, or in making the backswing for a stroke.

Reasons for Change:

The challenge of playing from a bunker is the need to play out of the sand, not to play with leaves, stones or other loose impediments left in place in the bunker.

The current approach has created confusion by stating a total prohibition on touching the sand with a hand or club and then recognizing many exceptions.

The revised Rule will simplify this by prohibiting only those acts where there is a purpose for doing so under the Rules:

  • Deliberately testing the condition of the sand with a hand or club will continue to be prohibited because part of the player’s challenge is to assess and predict how the sand may affect the stroke, and also because it will be time consuming and inappropriate for players to dig in the sand with a hand or club for that purpose before every shot.
  • Touching the sand with the club right in front of or behind the ball or in the backswing for the stroke will continue to be prohibited to make sure the player does nothing to reduce the challenge of playing from the sand; these prohibitions are already well known and followed by almost all players.
  • Touching the sand with a club in taking a practice swing will continue to be prohibited both for pace of play and to avoid having large amounts of sand deposited outside bunkers (especially greenside bunkers) as a result of repeated practice swings.

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Posted by John Murray at
31/10/2018 01:28 PM
With monocular vision I have been guilty of touching the sand accidentally at address with no knowledge of it until I see the club imprint as I take the club back for the stroke. Another 2 stroke penalty!!
Posted by Greg at
09/10/2018 05:25 PM
What happens if my ball lands on, or next to, a 'loose impediment' the removal of which may cause my ball to move?
Posted by David at
04/09/2018 10:24 PM
Sorry Grizzly. You are completely wrong. A card marker's role is solely to mark the card. The card marker has no authority to "judicate" or even adjudicate on any rule. Know your rules before making such ill informed comments!
Posted by TM at
08/08/2018 03:57 PM
Sorry but there is no age old rule on asking for a drop. There is no drop from a divot period, at least not if you are using the actual rules.
Posted by dave clifford at
08/08/2018 07:39 AM
I agree with this new ruling, and now we need to fix an age old rule of asking your card marker for a drop out of an unrepaired/repaired divot on the fairway. even Justin Thomas would be pissed after a 349yard drive and to land in somebody elses unrepaired/repaired CRAP in the middle of the FAIRWAY. come on R&A fair is fair, but unfair is someone elses Crap. we do have a card marker who judicates all the other rules for us when needed??? Grizzly

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