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New Rules - Hazards

The most common hazards on the golf are bunkers and water.

Starting with bunkers, you can now touch the sand with your club or your hand before playing a shot as long as you are not testing the condition of the sand.

In other words, you cannot keep tapping your club on the surface of the bunker as this would be testing the firmness of the sand.

You cannot place the club directly in-front of the ball or make any form of practice swing while touching the sand.

If your ball is in the bunker, you can move a lose object in the bunker if you wish, such as a leaf.

Previously, you would have faced a two stroke penalty for such behaviour or lost the hole in match play.

If you wish, you can now take a two stroke penalty to gain relief from the bunker on the same line as where the ball was found in the sand. You may wish to do this if you feel the ball is in a position where you will struggle to get it out of the bunker.

Previously, you could take relief from the bunker but in doing so you would have to go back to the position of your previous shot.

For the purpose of the new rules, the term water hazards no longer exists and they are now called penalty areas.

These areas are marked using yellow and red markers and can also include hazards other than water. Additional penalty areas could be rock, forest or desert and the penalty for hitting your ball into these zones is one shot should you decide to take relief.

Prior to the change of rules this year, you could not move anything within the penalty area, ground your club or touch the ground with your hand or club before playing your shot. It would have been met with a two shot penalty or loss of hole but now you can do any of the above without incurring a penalty.

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