Bunkers. Rule 12
Bunkers, are specially prepared areas intended to test the player’s ability to play a ball from the sand. To make sure the player confronts this challenge, there are some restrictions on touching the sand before the stroke is made and on where relief may be taken for a ball in a bunker.
When Ball Is in Bunker
A ball is in a bunker when any part of the ball:
- Touches sand on the ground inside the edge of the bunker, or Is inside the edge of the bunker and rests:
- On ground where sand normally would be (such as where sand was blown or washed away by wind or water), or
- In or on a loose impediment, movable obstruction, abnormal course condition or integral object that touches sand in the bunker or is on ground where sand normally would be.
If a ball lies on soil or grass or other growing or attached natural objects inside the edge of the bunker without touching any sand, the ball is not in the bunker.
Playing Ball in Bunker
This Rule applies both during a round and while play is stopped under Rule 5.7a. 12.2a Removing Loose Impediments and Movable Obstructions
Before playing a ball in a bunker, a player may remove loose impediments under Rule 15.1 and movable obstructions under Rule 15.2.
This includes any reasonable touching or movement of the sand in the bunker that happens while doing so.
Restrictions on Touching Sand in Bunker
(1) When Touching Sand Results in Penalty. Before making a stroke at a ball in a bunker, a player must not:
- Deliberately touch sand in the bunker with a hand, club, rake or other object to test the condition of the sand to learn information for the next stroke, or
- Touch sand in the bunker 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.
When Touching Sand Does Not Result in Penalty.
Except as covered by (1), this Rule does not prohibit the player from touching sand in the bunker in any other way, including:
- Digging in with the feet to take a stance for a practice swing or the stroke,
- Smoothing the bunker to care for the course,
- Placing clubs, equipment or other objects in the bunker (whether by throwing or setting them down),
- Measuring, marking, lifting, replacing or taking other actions under a Rule,
- Leaning on a club to rest, stay balanced or prevent a fall, or
- Striking the sand in frustration or anger.
- Removing Loose impediments
- Removing movable obstructions
Specific Rules for Relief for Ball in Bunker
When a ball is in a bunker, specific relief Rules may apply in these situations:
- Interference by an abnormal course condition (Rule16.1c),
- Interference by a dangerous animal condition (Rule16.2), and
- Unplayable ball (Rule19.3)