How to legally test a bunker?

salfordlad

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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.
This is entirely the Committee's call, the rules do not tell the Committee how to set up their course. In my experience, most (but certainly not all) courses do not create local rules relating to the bunker base - meaning the default definitions in the rules apply. If it is artificial material then it is an obstruction.
 

D-S

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As there is not always evidence that the sand layer might be very thin over the top of a rubber crumb lining, would a player need some sign that his club was in danger of striking it before probing?
Potentially could they carefully probe with a tee 1-2” below the sand surface each time they are in a bunker with this possibility?
 

clubchamp98

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As there is not always evidence that the sand layer might be very thin over the top of a rubber crumb lining, would a player need some sign that his club was in danger of striking it before probing?
Potentially could they carefully probe with a tee 1-2” below the sand surface each time they are in a bunker with this possibility?
I can’t see why not given the answers on here.
I would say the chance of hitting the lining at mine is as high as 80%.
 

clubchamp98

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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".
Thank you for your reply.
My reason for asking #2 question was if I need to take relief from an obstruction in a bunker( lining) am I taking full relief if said lining is under where I am going to drop my ball?
Once I have dropped am I able to test for the lining? This could take a while.!
Sorry to be a bit long in this but it really is a big problem at my club.
 

Colin L

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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".
I wouldn't argue about that but how do you establish the nearest point of complete relief without checking for interference by the lining which is underneath the sand wherever we go?
 

Colin L

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Thank you for your reply.
My reason for asking #2 question was if I need to take relief from an obstruction in a bunker( lining) am I taking full relief if said lining is under where I am going to drop my ball?
Once I have dropped am I able to test for the lining? This could take a while.!
Sorry to be a bit long in this but it really is a big problem at my club.
This is just a view for discussion.

To establish your nearest point of relief, I'd say you have to check that there is no interference at that point. It is not like other relief situations where you can see when you are clear of the ACC or obstruction, yet you have to know that there is no interference at the point. But with the NPCR established, definitely no probing around to work out where to drop. Your relief area is as defined. But after dropping correctly into it, your ball is in play in a new situation and I reckon you are then entitled to probe to find out if there is interference by the lining. If so, you may take further relief.
 

Foxholer

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I wouldn't argue about that but how do you establish the nearest point of complete relief without checking for interference by the lining which is underneath the sand wherever we go?
I agree, but does it matter? The issue I see being allowed to probe to determine whether the lining is near the surface or not - as in the OP's query - is that the findings of the probe affects the players decision about which type of shot to play (again as per OP's post). Whereas finding a relief point without interference does not. Still not a great situation and I'd prefer the bunker be marked as GUR and/or sorted properly.
 

salfordlad

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I wouldn't argue about that but how do you establish the nearest point of complete relief without checking for interference by the lining which is underneath the sand wherever we go?
Yep, that's an interesting question. I've seen plenty of folk take relief from a bunker lining, but I've never seen anyone prodding the sand to find NPCR. Perhaps there is a question there to seek guidance on? I've also seen bunker linings in sections, so the one you have interference from and the unseen lining under the sand in other spots may not be the same immovable obstruction anyway. I also note that the words "bunker lining" do not appear in the Rules, Interpretations, Committee Procedures or Model Local Rules. So it seems RBs are leaving us to our own devices.
 

Foxholer

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At the course I play most of my golf at, there's only 4 holes where bunkers are a factor in my play, so the fact that unkempt bunkers are the poorest aspect of an otherwise pretty great course are a small/tiny niggle.
 

jim8flog

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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..
You can test where the ball actually lies read the full rule (this is an extract)

16.4 Lifting Ball to See If It Lies in Condition Where Relief Allowed
If a player reasonably believes that his or her ball lies in a condition where free relief is allowed under Rule 15.2, 16.1 or 16.3, but cannot decide that without lifting the ball:
• The player may lift the ball to see if relief is allowed, but:
• The spot of the ball must first be marked, and the lifted ball must not be cleaned (except on the putting green) (see Rule 14.1).
If the player lifts the ball without having this reasonable belief (except on the putting green where the player may lift under Rule 13.1b), he or she gets one penalty stroke.
 

clubchamp98

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I agree, but does it matter? The issue I see being allowed to probe to determine whether the lining is near the surface or not - as in the OP's query - is that the findings of the probe affects the players decision about which type of shot to play (again as per OP's post). Whereas finding a relief point without interference does not. Still not a great situation and I'd prefer the bunker be marked as GUR and/or sorted properly.
Every bunker on my course has a lining.
You can’t just make all of them GUR.
The bunkers were fine before they “ upgraded them” with these linings now there really poor
 

Foxholer

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Every bunker on my course has a lining.
You can’t just make all of them GUR.
The bunkers were fine before they “ upgraded them” with these linings now there really poor
That doesn't change anything wrt my post. The club needs to get them sorted! And they should be GUR until they do.
 

Colin L

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Designating all bunkers as GUR would mean stroke play competitions would be non-qualifying and general play scores not acceptable. Better, as already suggested, to designate the liners as integral objects in the interim and remind members that they are allowed to probe with the likes of a tee or pencil to establish whether there is lining behind their ball near enough the surface for the clubhead to hit so that at least they know what to expect and can adapt their shot to suit.

I'd also suggest that a local rule designating all bunkers as GUR would not be authorised. Model Local Rule 8F-16 seems to me to establish the principle that you have to legislate on a bunker by bunker basis
 
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D-S

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Designating all bunkers as GUR would mean stroke play competitions would be non-qualifying and general play scores not acceptable. Better, as already suggested, to designate the liners as integral objects in the interim and remind members that they are allowed to probe with the likes of a tee or pencil to establish whether there is lining behind their ball near enough the surface for the clubhead to hit so that at least they know what to expect and can adapt their shot to suit.

I'd also suggest that a local rule designating all bunkers as GUR would not be authorised. Model Local Rule 8F-16 seems to me to establish the principle that you have to legislate on a bunker by bunker basis
If the bunker linings are designated as an integral part of the course would players still be able to probe for it? (your post suggests that you can).
 

Colin L

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If the bunker linings are designated as an integral part of the course would players still be able to probe for it? (your post suggests that you can).
I would say yes. Interpretation 8.1a/7 sanctions probing to see if your club might strike, for example, a rock, tree root or obstruction - illustrative I think of anything under the surface that could damage a club or injure a player. In a bunker, you just have to be careful not to do anything that could be construed as testing the condition of the sand [Interpretation 12.2b/2]
 
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salfordlad

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The Committee could declare that the bunker lining is integral.
Sure, but in some bunker linings/materials that are flapping around, that can be ridiculously unfair - a significant and random event that can mess up a score card. The club that has decision makers doing that does not retain my membership. And I've never met the course designer yet that thinks a bunker liner is intended to be part of the challenge of golf.
 

Colin L

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In my post above, I wasn't thinking of a liner visible flapping around and if that were the problem, making them integral would not be good. I do think designating liners which are sometimes too near the surface because of variations in the depth of the sand as integral objects is a sound, pragmatic, approach for the short-term. That, however, I realise is predicated on the assumption that there will be a plan for dealing with the sand problem which in some instances would be wishful thinking.
 

clubchamp98

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In my post above, I wasn't thinking of a liner visible flapping around and if that were the problem, making them integral would not be good. I do think designating liners which are sometimes too near the surface because of variations in the depth of the sand as integral objects is a sound, pragmatic, approach for the short-term. That, however, I realise is predicated on the assumption that there will be a plan for dealing with the sand problem which in some instances would be wishful thinking.
Yes our plan for dealing with bunkers is dated 2014.
 

salfordlad

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In my post above, I wasn't thinking of a liner visible flapping around and if that were the problem, making them integral would not be good. I do think designating liners which are sometimes too near the surface because of variations in the depth of the sand as integral objects is a sound, pragmatic, approach for the short-term. That, however, I realise is predicated on the assumption that there will be a plan for dealing with the sand problem which in some instances would be wishful thinking.
Agree this can work for some bunker lining materials, but I'm also seeing bitumenised stones being used - bringing genuine injury and club damage risks for courses that do not keep them appropriately maintained.
 
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