2012 Bunker Rules Change-Playing By The Rules

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2012 Bunker Rules Change-Playing By The Rules

In the 2008 Zurich Classic, Stewart Cink was penalized when his caddie raked a bunker that was 185 yards from the green while Cink’s ball was at rest in a greenside bunker.  This instance led to a decision that made reference to the fact that if the caddie was raking the bunker “soley for the purpose of caring for the course” there is no longer a penalty.

This concept has been carried further for 2012, by creating a new Exception 2 to Rule 13-4 (Ball in Hazard; Prohibited Action) that reads, “At any time, the player may smooth sand or soil in a hazard provided this is for the sole purpose of caring for the course and nothing is done to breach 13-2 (Improving Lie, Area of Intended Stance or Swing, or Line of Play) with respect to his next stroke.  If a ball played from a hazard is outside the hazard after a stroke, the player may smooth the sand or soil in the hazard without restriction.”  This Exception 2 of the rule grants players the right to smooth sand or soil in a bunker at any time, including before playing from the bunker, providing it is done for the sole purpose of caring for the course and nothing is done to improve the position or lie of the ball, the area of intended stance or swing, or the line of play.  An example of this would be a player raking a bunker behind him as he enters the bunker and walks 30 yards to reach his ball.

In addition, if a stroke is made from within a bunker and the ball remains in the bunker, the player may rake the bunker as he walks to his ball that still is in the bunker.  The player must not breach Rule 13-2 when doing his raking in both of the previous circumstances.  Again, nothing can be done to improve the lie of the ball, the area of the intended stance or swing, or the line of play.

Frank Guastella, PGA Rules Official Michigan Section PGA

Staff Writer, Mike Fay Golf

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4 Comments

  1. I would like you to please give me a ruling on the following. A golfer hits a ball into the woods and after a period of time he abandons the ball and starts walking towards the green, but another player finds the ball belonging to golfer #1. So golfer comes back and hits the ball. I say that once golfer #1 abandons his ball he is out of the hole. What is your opinion?

    Thank you,

    Lane Nicholas

  2. I would like you to give me a ruling on the following. #1 golfer hits the ball into the woods and after a period of time he abandons the ball and starts walking toward the green saying “he is out of the hole.” However, golfer #2 finds the ball and calls #1 golfer back, and #1 golfer hits the ball. My impression is that wants #1 golfer abandons the ball he is considered out of the hole. What is your interpretation of the rule?

    Thank you,

    • Your comment is awaiting moderation.

      September 4, 2017 at 4:36 pm

      I would like you to give me a ruling on the following. #1 golfer hits the ball into the woods and after a period of time he abandons the ball and starts walking toward the green saying “he is out of the hole.” However, golfer #2 finds the ball and calls #1 golfer back, and #1 golfer hits the ball. My impression is that wants #1 golfer abandons the ball he is considered out of the hole. What is your interpretation of the rule?

      Thank you,

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