Bunkers and the New Rules

Bunkers have a rule all to themselves in the 2019 Rules of Golf, Rule 12 and while the challenge of playing out of a bunker is the same the rules about playing from a bunker have changed

You may

  • Remove loose impediments from the bunker like leaves, twigs, stones or any natural object before you play from the bunker but be careful not to move the ball in the process – if you do the penalty is one stroke and replace the ball
  • As before remove any movable obstruction like a rake, litter or any other artificial object and if the ball moves in the process no penalty and replace the ball
  • To save time rake footprints before you play as long as it is for the sole purpose of caring for the course, is not testing the condition of the sand and is nowhere near your ball i.e. does not improve the lie or area of stance or swing of your ball
  • Use the new option under the unplayable rule of taking the ball out of the bunker altogether for 2 penalty strokes and dropping back on the line behind the bunker.  This option is in addition to the normal unplayable ball options of stroke and distance, back on the line in the bunker and within 2 club lengths in the bunker.
  • Lean on your club in the bunker without incurring a penalty

Note: stones in bunkers can no longer me treated as movable obstructions by local rule as they are loose impediments by definition and can be removed under the new rules so be careful not to move the ball if moving stones near it in the bunker.

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