Im fairly sure i have this right but all except 1in group says it has changed . So it has caused me some doubt , Touching sand on back swing is still a penalty isnt it ? Or am i missing a rule change, Thanks in advance
Taken to extreme you can see why the rule is as it is.
It’s one thing a player accidentally brushing the surface of the sand when you start your backswing…but say your ball has a pile of sand behind it and that sand will 100% affect your strike. You address the ball and as you start your backswing you ‘accidentally’ flatten out the pile of sand thereby reducing the risk to your shot that the sand previously presented.
I find that rules that might seem petty or irrational often become absolutely clear and sensible when the players action that is penalised is taken to an extreme.
The only things that changed in 2019 were that you are now allowed to remove loose impediments and the Allowable Local Rule whereby a club was allowed to let a player treat stones in bunkers as movable obstructions was deleted.