How to legally test a bunker?

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My course struggles with keeping sand in the bunkers. Parts of the course are particularly exposed to the wind and the sand gets blown away. In some bunkers the sand can be very thin and if you play a "normal" splash type bunker shot what can happen is you bounce off the black rubber lining. This means you are probably better off playing it like a pitch shot.

Other than really wiggling my feet how can I legally establish how deep or thick the sand is? Ideally I'd like to ground my club or stick a tee in the send to test - but I know I can't.
 

Foxholer

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Stay out of them!
FWIW. The club should try using different types of sand, wind breaks, like the dreaded gorse or changing the design of those bunkers that are susceptible to wind-scouring. There are plenty of clubs in windy areas that have overcome/prevented the problem.
 

Orikoru

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My course struggles with keeping sand in the bunkers. Parts of the course are particularly exposed to the wind and the sand gets blown away. In some bunkers the sand can be very thin and if you play a "normal" splash type bunker shot what can happen is you bounce off the black rubber lining. This means you are probably better off playing it like a pitch shot.

Other than really wiggling my feet how can I legally establish how deep or thick the sand is? Ideally I'd like to ground my club or stick a tee in the send to test - but I know I can't.
That's what I was going to suggest. Have seen the pros dig their feet in to ridiculous degrees so I would guess that is the only loophole for testing depth of the sand.
 

Imurg

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We lightly water our bunkers to keep the sand in them..seems to work quite well.
It can make the bunker shot a little more tricky but the sand is , mostly, consistent
 
Thread starter #5
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Stay out of them!
FWIW. The club should try using different types of sand, wind breaks, like the dreaded gorse or changing the design of those bunkers that are susceptible to wind-scouring. There are plenty of clubs in windy areas that have overcome/prevented the problem.
I'm no expert but I'm told that the challenge is keeping all the bunkers on the course consistent. So there could use "heavy" sand on the exposed parts but this type is not good for the more protected parts. So they want to use the same sand everywhere. Personally not sure this is needed.
 

Foxholer

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I'm no expert but I'm told that the challenge is keeping all the bunkers on the course consistent. So there could use "heavy" sand on the exposed parts but this type is not good for the more protected parts. So they want to use the same sand everywhere. Personally not sure this is needed.
Not the smartest 'solution' imo. No reason not to have 'heavy' sand everywhere - as bunkers are, after all a hazard. Alternatively, having 2 different types - easily identifiable - is no problem either.
 

Colin L

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My course struggles with keeping sand in the bunkers. Parts of the course are particularly exposed to the wind and the sand gets blown away. In some bunkers the sand can be very thin and if you play a "normal" splash type bunker shot what can happen is you bounce off the black rubber lining. This means you are probably better off playing it like a pitch shot.

Other than really wiggling my feet how can I legally establish how deep or thick the sand is? Ideally I'd like to ground my club or stick a tee in the send to test - but I know I can't.
You are permitted to probe in a bunker to determine for example whether there is a hidden obstruction , provided you do not do so in order to test the condition of the sand and do not improve the conditions affecting the stroke. See Interpretations 12.2b/2 and 8.1a/7
 

jim8flog

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I used to occasionally play Staddon Heights, a cliff top club in Devon. Instead of sand they use crushed marble. One thing though I always used to remember to take a very old sand wedge the marble used to scuff the face up so much.
 

jim8flog

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My course struggles with keeping sand in the bunkers. Parts of the course are particularly exposed to the wind and the sand gets blown away. In some bunkers the sand can be very thin and if you play a "normal" splash type bunker shot what can happen is you bounce off the black rubber lining. This means you are probably better off playing it like a pitch shot.

Other than really wiggling my feet how can I legally establish how deep or thick the sand is? Ideally I'd like to ground my club or stick a tee in the send to test - but I know I can't.
It is worth remembering that the liner is an immovable obstruction and the following interpretation applies but note especially the last para.

12.2b/2 – Whether Player May Probe in Bunker

8.1a/7 confirms that a player may probe anywhere on the course (including in a bunker) without penalty to determine if tree roots, rocks or obstructions might interfere with his or her stroke, as long as the player does not improve the conditions affecting the stroke.

For example, when a player’s ball comes to rest near a drain in a bunker, the player may use a tee to probe the sand to determine the extent of the drain and whether it will interfere with his or her stroke.

However, if the purpose of the probing is to test the condition of the sand, the player is in breach of Rule 12.2b(1).
 

Steven Rules

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Other than really wiggling my feet how can I legally establish how deep or thick the sand is?
You can't. It is all about intent or purpose.

There is a range of things you can do in a bunker - probing for tree roots or obstructions or the ball, leaning on a club or rake, caring for the course, placing clubs in the bunker. But if you take actions with an intent to test the condition of the sand to learn information for the next stroke then you are in breach of the rules. Rule 12.2b

As you have said, you can dig in with your feet to take a stance for a practice swing or the stroke.

Your post indicates you clearly know all this. No point trying to look for a 'tricky loophole' (to quote myself from another thread). If the intent of your actions is to test the conditions in the bunker then, by definition, your actions are in breach.
 

salfordlad

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My course struggles with keeping sand in the bunkers. Parts of the course are particularly exposed to the wind and the sand gets blown away. In some bunkers the sand can be very thin and if you play a "normal" splash type bunker shot what can happen is you bounce off the black rubber lining. This means you are probably better off playing it like a pitch shot.

Other than really wiggling my feet how can I legally establish how deep or thick the sand is? Ideally I'd like to ground my club or stick a tee in the send to test - but I know I can't.
Steven explains thoroughly above how the rules apply when your ball is in the bunker. No way around those.

But there is a legal way to find the answer - take detailed notes/measurements when your ball is not in the bunker.
 
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You can't. It is all about intent or purpose.

There is a range of things you can do in a bunker - probing for tree roots or obstructions or the ball, leaning on a club or rake, caring for the course, placing clubs in the bunker. But if you take actions with an intent to test the condition of the sand to learn information for the next stroke then you are in breach of the rules. Rule 12.2b
I guess phrased differently what it is "testing the condition". If I probe it with a tee so see how deep the sand is / how shallow the lining is, is that testing or checking for an obstruction? In situations like think this and knowing the course I can quite reasonably say that I suspect the bunker in not that deep so checking where the lining is would be reasonable?
 

Foxholer

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I guess phrased differently what it is "testing the condition". If I probe it with a tee so see how deep the sand is / how shallow the lining is, is that testing or checking for an obstruction? In situations like think this and knowing the course I can quite reasonably say that I suspect the bunker in not that deep so checking where the lining is would be reasonable?
You should ask yourself...'What is the fundamental reason I'm testing/checking'. In 99.99% of cases as you describe, it's a breach of the Rules as per SR's post above. Certainly your description of the reason for doing it (in Post 1) would be a beach.
 

Colin L

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I guess phrased differently what it is "testing the condition". If I probe it with a tee so see how deep the sand is / how shallow the lining is, is that testing or checking for an obstruction? In situations like think this and knowing the course I can quite reasonably say that I suspect the bunker in not that deep so checking where the lining is would be reasonable?
When you read Interpretation 8.1a/7 you'll find this:
For example, without improving any of the conditions affecting the stroke, when the ball lies anywhere on the course, a player may probe the area around the ball with a tee or other object to see whether his or her club might strike a root, rock or obstruction below the surface of the ground when the stroke is made.
You need to recognise the limitation imposed on you by the reason for the probing. That is, it is carried out for the sole purpose of finding out if there s anything below the surface of the sand which your club might hit when making your stroke. it's not a digging mandate to find out how shallow or deep the sand is. Consider what probing means. It's not poking around shifting sand with a clubhead; it's pushing something narrow like a tee or a pencil into the sand to see if it strikes an object. Minimal disturbance of the sand. And consider too you should only be probing as far down as your clubhead would go in carrying out the stroke. You may as well leave the BBQ skewers in the garden.
 
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KenL

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Stay out of them!
FWIW. The club should try using different types of sand, wind breaks, like the dreaded gorse or changing the design of those bunkers that are susceptible to wind-scouring. There are plenty of clubs in windy areas that have overcome/prevented the problem.
Stay out of them is the most pointless thing to say.😉
Concur with your other comments. Courses in windy spots definitely need a larger grain size. The caster sugar style stuff won't last long.
 

Oddsocks

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Stay out of them!
FWIW. The club should try using different types of sand, wind breaks, like the dreaded gorse or changing the design of those bunkers that are susceptible to wind-scouring. There are plenty of clubs in windy areas that have overcome/prevented the problem.
This!

Lots of courses use cheap play sand which is friggin useless, look at courses like Celtic 2010 that’s exposed to wind as it uses a heavier red grain sand which is more like a shail (potential incorrect spelling) which never blows away, but is more expensive.

My old club refilled bunkers annually with play sand as it was cheap, they could have done it once with the heavier sand and had done with it.
 

clubchamp98

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When you read Interpretation 8.1a/7 you'll find this:
For example, without improving any of the conditions affecting the stroke, when the ball lies anywhere on the course, a player may probe the area around the ball with a tee or other object to see whether his or her club might strike a root, rock or obstruction below the surface of the ground when the stroke is made.
You need to recognise the limitation imposed on you by the reason for the probing. That is, it is carried out for the sole purpose of finding out if there s anything below the surface of the sand which your club might hit when making your stroke. it's not a digging mandate to find out how shallow or deep the sand is. Consider what probing means. It's not poking around shifting sand with a clubhead; it's pushing something narrow like a tee or a pencil into the sand to see if it strikes an object. Minimal disturbance of the sand. And consider too you should only be probing as far down as your clubhead would go in carrying out the stroke. You may as well leave the BBQ skewers in the garden.
Reading this has made me wonder.
Our bunkers are lined by a felt type lining.
Quite often the fibres of the lining protrude above the sand.

1 So is it legal for me to probe around the ball to see how shallow the lining is ?
2 Also is it legal for me to probe if I am going to move my ball by claiming relief at the site I am going to drop to see if there is sufficient sand to play a splash shot..

This is a big problem on my course as there never seems to be enough sand ( wind is a problem) to cover the linings properly to play a “normal” bunker shot.

I am pretty sure players at my club would be probing every bunker shot as this is the biggest complaint in the clubhouse every Saturday.
We had a survey of members thoughts months ago but nothing has been done to rectify it..
 

salfordlad

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Reading this has made me wonder.
Our bunkers are lined by a felt type lining.
Quite often the fibres of the lining protrude above the sand.

1 So is it legal for me to probe around the ball to see how shallow the lining is ?
2 Also is it legal for me to probe if I am going to move my ball by claiming relief at the site I am going to drop to see if there is sufficient sand to play a splash shot..


This is a big problem on my course as there never seems to be enough sand ( wind is a problem) to cover the linings properly to play a “normal” bunker shot.

I am pretty sure players at my club would be probing every bunker shot as this is the biggest complaint in the clubhouse every Saturday.
We had a survey of members thoughts months ago but nothing has been done to rectify it..
On 1, what is legitimate is probing to determine if the obstruction will interfere with the stroke - per the guidance in 8.1a/7 and 12.2b/2 and subject to the limitations named there - no improving the CATS and no intent of "testing the conditions". But I'm not aware of RB guidance on precisely when/how probing flips into becoming "testing the conditions". My thought is probing to a depth of where the club will go is legit, but going beyond and aiming to measure the full depth of sand would go well beyond the legitimate interpretation of the permission.
On 2, my view is no go in advance of a ball being put into play in the way the rules require. We do not get to make that kind of forensic examination of a relief area before putting the ball in play, so it would qualify for "testing the conditions".
 
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You are permitted to probe in a bunker to determine for example whether there is a hidden obstruction , provided you do not do so in order to test the condition of the sand and do not improve the conditions affecting the stroke. See Interpretations 12.2b/2 and 8.1a/7
Where, as in OP situation, there is a rubber base to the sand, must the rubber base be declared an integral object, otherwise I could probe the sand and if I find rubber close to the surface I could claim free relief - though still only in the bunker. I know this was discussed at length a few years back but can’t recall if rule changed.
 
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