When bunkers are out of play

The bunkers in Bearna are out of play for the winter months so if your ball lands in a bunker you may drop the ball outside the bunker without penalty.   The bunkers no longer have the status of hazards so the whole area of the bunker is now classified as GUR.   To correctly take relief, drop the ball within one club length of the nearest point of relief which must be no nearer the hole from where the ball is at rest in the bunker.   The nearest point of relief may be to the side or behind the bunker, make a judgement call as to where this is and drop within a club length of this spot.

The ‘Bunkers out of play’ sign in the middle of the first fairway is an immovable obstruction (it is not easily moved!) so if it interferes with the lie of your ball or the area of your intended stance or swing you may drop your ball without penalty within a club length of the nearest point of relief from the obstruction, no nearer the hole.   You do not have line of play relief from an immovable obstruction unfortunately.

It is only when taking free relief from ground under repair or other abnormal ground conditions, immovable obstructions or a wrong putting green that we talk about finding the ‘nearest point of relief’.   This is the point where we no longer have any interference from the condition no nearer the hole so having found this spot we drop a ball within one club length of it.   The way you take free relief in the two situations described above is exactly the same.

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