Smoothing Sand in a Bunker

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mikejohnchapman

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New rule 12.2b outlines where you are / are not penalised for touching the sand in a bunker.

It specifically says you are penalised if you touch the sand with a club "in the area right in front or right behind the ball".

What constitutes "right in front or behind"?

If your ball was in the middle of a large bunker and there were footmarks 6ft in front of the ball on the intended line of the shot would you be allowed to smooth them out prior to playing the shot? How about 3ft?

I think in the current rules you are not allowed to touch the sand in the area around the ball in case you don't get out first time but this looks different. If the new meaning suggests (let's say) 12 inches either side of the ball it's a significant change.
 
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New rule 12.2b outlines where you are / are not penalised for touching the sand in a bunker.

It specifically says you are penalised if you touch the sand with a club "in the area right in front or right behind the ball".

What constitutes "right in front or behind"?

If your ball was in the middle of a large bunker and there were footmarks 6ft in front of the ball on the intended line of the shot would you be allowed to smooth them out prior to playing the shot? How about 3ft?

I think in the current rules you are not allowed to touch the sand in the area around the ball in case you don't get out first time but this looks different. If the new meaning suggests (let's say) 12 inches either side of the ball it's a significant change.
Don;t know the rulie answer - however one persons footprint is another's not very good raking. Say I think the bunker sand between my ball and the flag is not very well raked - do I get to rake it - smooth it out until it is perfect? I doubt it.
 

Colin L

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I suggest - and it is borne out by the illustrative video on touching sand in a bunker - that 12.2b is specifically referring to touching within a few centimetres in front of or behind the ball in terms to prevent you making a hollow with your club that will ease the passage of your club or ball. It is necessary to say this in order to be clear that Rule 8.1b(4) which generally permits the grounding of a club in front of or behind your ball is not applicable.

Raking out someone's footprints in front of your ball i.e a condition which existed before your ball arrived would be a breach of Rule 8.1 in terms of improving your line of play.
 

bobmac

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Bearing in mind some golfers still think a single golfer has no standing, I won't be touching any sand until after I've played out
 

duncan mackie

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I suggest - and it is borne out by the illustrative video on touching sand in a bunker - that 12.2b is specifically referring to touching within a few centimetres in front of or behind the ball in terms to prevent you making a hollow with your club that will ease the passage of your club or ball. It is necessary to say this in order to be clear that Rule 8.1b(4) which generally permits the grounding of a club in front of or behind your ball is not applicable.

Raking out someone's footprints in front of your ball i.e a condition which existed before your ball arrived would be a breach of Rule 8.1 in terms of improving your line of play.
Indeed - which is why there's a large bold "But....." at the end of 12.2 (b) which needs to be considered in the wider context.
 

bobmac

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That makes no sense to me at all. I guess then you won't be grounding your club in or removing loose impediments from penalty areas, or removing LIs from fairways, putting greens.......from anywhere?
I didn't say that, I just won't touch the sand in bunkers until after I've played out.
It's what I've always done and always will do.
 

jim8flog

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Part of the reason for allowing the sand to be touched is probably part of the allowing loose impediments to be removed and you are now allowed to lift a ball to see if it is in a condition from which you get relief eg animal damage in a bunker.
 

chrisd

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So I'm confused (easily done), are you allowed to rest your club behind the ball in a bunker with these changes? Doesn't seem fair so I must be reading it incorrectly.
No, the rules haven't changed in that respect (afaik)
 

Colin L

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You will not be allowed to touch the sand directly in front of or behind your ball. These are the restrictions to touching the sand listed in Rule 12.2b (1) whch says you can't touch sand with a club
  • In the area right in front of or right behind the ball (except as allowed under Rule 7.1a in fairly searching for a ball or under Rule 12.2a in removing a loose impediment or movable obstruction),
  • In making a practice swing, or
  • In making the backswing for a stroke.
 
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mikejohnchapman

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Indeed - which is why there's a large bold "But....." at the end of 12.2 (b) which needs to be considered in the wider context.
I agree but I was never sure what constituted the line of play in a bunker. If you hit the face the ball could go anywhere in the bunker - even an area you had previously raked under "care for the course". I was hoping this version of the rules clarified matters.
 

duncan mackie

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I agree but I was never sure what constituted the line of play in a bunker. If you hit the face the ball could go anywhere in the bunker - even an area you had previously raked under "care for the course". I was hoping this version of the rules clarified matters.
Didn't need clarifying in the context of the example you gave. Previously the definition included both 'wishes' and 'intends' but they have settled on 'intends' in the new version.
In doubt, stay clear - no benefit in trying to push the boundaries.
 
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I agree but I was never sure what constituted the line of play in a bunker. If you hit the face the ball could go anywhere in the bunker - even an area you had previously raked under "care for the course". I was hoping this version of the rules clarified matters.
Already clarified by Duncan, but essentially, line of play (under both old & new rules) is the line along which, as far as you are concerned, the ball is supposed to travel after you have hit it.

The direction in which the ball ultimately travels (at least as far as l am concerned) is not necessarily the same as line of play 😁
 

rulefan

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Explanation for Proposed Rule Change 14.
Moving of Touching Loose Impediments or Touching Sand in a Bunker
Current Rule: When a player’s ball is in a bunker, Rule 13-4 provides (with exceptions) that the player must not:
 Test the condition of the bunker,
 Touch the ground in the bunker with a hand or club, or
 Touch or move loose impediments that are in the bunker.

New Rule: Under new Rules 12.2a and 12.2b, the player would be allowed to touch or move loose impediments in a bunker and would 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 would simplify this by prohibiting only those acts where there is a purpose for doing so under the Rules:

o Deliberately testing the condition of the sand with a hand or club would 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 would be time-consuming and inappropriate for players to dig in the sand with a hand or club for that purpose before every shot.

o Touching the sand with the club right in front of or behind the ball or in the backswing for the stroke would 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.

o Touching the sand with a club in taking a practice swing would 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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