How to legally test a bunker?

salfordlad

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Will that ever actually be a factor?
Even if a ball struck from within a bunker becomes imbedded in the revetted face (the only possible way I can imagine it could happen), it's still 'in the bunker'. So any relief would have to in the bunker. FWIW, from the look of the revetting, I don't believe that would ever happen anyway.
@SwingsitlikeHogan Presumably, some of the bunkers are now 4 years old. What condition are they in now? Basically, has it been a cost-effective exercise?
The definition of bunker is clear - it is only where the sand goes. So the revetted face above the sand is in the general area. If a ball manages to get stuck in that artificial face, free relief is available unless it has been declared integral. And if a player has interference with that face, eg with stance or swing, again, free relief is available if not declared integral. Of course, if ball is in bunker, free relief option is only in the bunker, but if the ball is outside the bunker, free relief is going to be outside the bunker. For such reasons, most courses declare them integral.
 

Foxholer

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The definition of bunker is clear - it is only where the sand goes. So the revetted face above the sand is in the general area. If a ball manages to get stuck in that artificial face, free relief is available unless it has been declared integral. And if a player has interference with that face, eg with stance or swing, again, free relief is available if not declared integral. Of course, if ball is in bunker, free relief option is only in the bunker, but if the ball is outside the bunker, free relief is going to be outside the bunker. For such reasons, most courses declare them integral.
Good point. I even remember a discussion from some years ago about it. The 2 clubs I've ben at that had revetted bunkers - adn at least couple of other courses I played - all defined the faces as integral.
There was a larger problem in one of those clubs (Musselburgh) once when I played it. On the 5th - the Par 3 after Mrs Forman's (sadly, apparently no longer a pub) there was a (burnt out I think) VW van in the bunker!
 

Steven Rules

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If a ball manages to get stuck in that artificial face, free relief is available unless it has been declared integral.
....or unless the spot right behind the embedded ball (the reference point) is in the bunker, and within one club-length of and not nearer the hole from that reference point there is no part of the relief area that is in the general area. In such situation the player would need to take unplayable penalty relief either in the bunker or outside it. (Clarification 16.3b/C1)

Having said that, though, this particular bunker looks like it has a sloping face so that the spot right behind the ball would be in the general area (as long as the ball wasn't embedded at the very base of the slope). Thus the player could probably get free embedded ball relief outside this bunker under Rules 14.3c(2) and 14.2e (i.e. try and drop it twice [on the steep bank in the general area], then try and place it twice, then find the nearest spot in the general area not nearer the hole where the ball will stay at rest.)
 

rulefan

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....or unless the spot right behind the embedded ball (the reference point) is in the bunker, and within one club-length of and not nearer the hole from that reference point there is no part of the relief area that is in the general area. In such situation the player would need to take unplayable penalty relief either in the bunker or outside it. (Clarification 16.3b/C1)

Having said that, though, this particular bunker looks like it has a sloping face so that the spot right behind the ball would be in the general area (as long as the ball wasn't embedded at the very base of the slope). Thus the player could probably get free embedded ball relief outside this bunker under Rules 14.3c(2) and 14.2e (i.e. try and drop it twice [on the steep bank in the general area], then try and place it twice, then find the nearest spot in the general area not nearer the hole where the ball will stay at rest.)
All of the above is a good reason for clubs to make artificial revetting integral objects or make sure players are clear on the relief option implications.
 

Colin L

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All of the above is a good reason for clubs to make artificial revetting integral objects or make sure players are clear on the relief option implications.
As a rule of thumb, I find the answer to the question "Can you expect the average club golfer to manage a situation correctly without the help of a referee?" to be helpful in deciding whether a local rule or, say, a dropping zone etc is needed in various circumstances. In. this instance, I'd say the likes of the artificial face of a revetted bunker needs to be defined as an integral object even if it slopes enough for there to be a reference point on the face above the sand. The relief process is just too complex.
 
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Steven Rules

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The relief process is just too complex.
Not uppermost in my thoughts when I originally posted #63 but, of course, if the ball is embedded in the general area in an abnormal course condition (i e. an immovable obstruction in this case [assuming the bunker face is not an integral object]) the player has the option of taking relief under Rule 16.1 for interference by the abnormal course condition or under Rule 16.3 for the embedded ball.

It just serves to reinforce Colin's point about complexity.
 
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Answering the Integral Object questions. At the time of the the video when the bunkers were being rebuilt and introduced, I mentioned on here the revetted faces; artificial immovable obstructions; free relief and integral objects etc and a lengthy debate and very informed ensued on here with questions and clarifications being sought I believe from the R&A. As a result I pestered the club with the advice I was given by the good folks on here - and eventually the issue was recognised and an addition was made to our scorecard identifying the artificial turf bunker faces/surrounds as Integral Objects and so from which no free relief is given.
 
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Will that ever actually be a factor?
Even if a ball struck from within a bunker becomes imbedded in the revetted face (the only possible way I can imagine it could happen), it's still 'in the bunker'. So any relief would have to in the bunker. FWIW, from the look of the revetting, I don't believe that would ever happen anyway.
@SwingsitlikeHogan Presumably, some of the bunkers are now 4 years old. What condition are they in now? Basically, has it been a cost-effective exercise?
The bunkers look superb, I'll take a picture of the bunker in the video and try and post it here to show i's current condition. The build and how we turf the immediate surrounds has evolved as the greens team have learned what's best - and indeed on some we have started to encourage heathland grasses and heather to grow on the greenside top-edge of fairway bunkers. We only have three remaining old bunkers of our 47 bunkers - these are all on the one hole and are going to be removed and replaced when we do significant remodelling of the final 100yds approach to the green this winter. Consensus of members and visitors is that our bunkering is splendid, and I reckon if members learn to play out of our bunkers then we can play out of any bunker - well at least we know what we are capable of and so what to attempt.

Of course we have the expected moans from those whose ball sometimes does not run far from the steep face of a bunker, or is plugged close to a face, but most of us recognise the bunkers as serious hazards and not simply minor irritations. That is especially the case in respect of the fairway bunkers when a ball in one of these can often only be recovered back onto the fairway no distance ahead or indeed just to the side, as a result some whinge that we are a members course not a championship course and we shouldn't be faced with such a hazard, to which I say pish, tish, tosh. If you are worried about not being able to get far out of them just play to minimise risk of going in them.
 
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The bunkers look superb, I'll take a picture of the bunker in the video and try and post it here to show i's current condition. The build and how we turf the immediate surrounds has evolved as the greens team have learned what's best - and indeed on some we have started to encourage heathland grasses and heather to grow on the greenside top-edge of fairway bunkers. We only have three remaining old bunkers of our 47 bunkers - these are all on the one hole and are going to be removed and replaced when we do significant remodelling of the final 100yds approach to the green this winter. Consensus of members and visitors is that our bunkering is splendid, and I reckon if members learn to play out of our bunkers then we can play out of any bunker - well at least we know what we are capable of and so what to attempt.

Of course we have the expected moans from those whose ball sometimes does not run far from the steep face of a bunker, or is plugged close to a face, but most of us recognise the bunkers as serious hazards and not simply minor irritations. That is especially the case in respect of the fairway bunkers when a ball in one of these can often only be recovered back onto the fairway no distance ahead or indeed just to the side, as a result some whinge that we are a members course not a championship course and we shouldn't be faced with such a hazard, to which I say pish, tish, tosh. If you are worried about not being able to get far out of them just play to minimise risk of going in them.
Good (great!) to read!
The simple answer to those who complain about bunkers is 'well don't go in them!'. They are hazards after all. I've often cursed (myself) for going into a bunker. But never the bunker itself!
 
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Good (great!) to read!
The simple answer to those who complain about bunkers is 'well don't go in them!'. They are hazards after all. I've often cursed (myself) for going into a bunker. But never the bunker itself!
When I was Chair of the Greens committee, I got loads of whinges about bunkers, rough, copses of trees etc. My stock answer was always 'well don't hit it in there then ...' Because without some areas of significant difficulty, the course would be a walk-over.
 
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When I was Chair of the Greens committee, I got loads of whinges about bunkers, rough, copses of trees etc. My stock answer was always 'well don't hit it in there then ...' Because without some areas of significant difficulty, the course would be a walk-over.
Exactly. We have a lovely course but one which at 6519yds off the back tees is not particularly long - and there is no real scope for lengthening it - even if we wanted to.

So what we are doing is toughening it up, making accurate tee shot placement much more important than length, and giving approach and par3 tee shots higher risk/reward tariff - the latter especially on our par 3s on which missing a green and finding a bunker is now a significant issue.
 
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Not sure what other word to use. I simply throw that rack gently into the bunker so that it drops level with the only impression created being of the rake, so no other indentations or ‘skid’ marks.

All our bunkers now have steep reverted faces all round. Head greenie demonstrates how we rake bunkers…and rake positioning. And this is what I do.

(Note for all ‘rulies’ - the video is from April 2018).

The same bunker as in the video of April 2018…taken about 12:30pm today ( as requested by @Foxholer). Also shows rake left in bunker exactly where is should be…and I didn’t put it there either 😊

08EFFB23-B8C7-4610-9AE3-17341DC591FA.jpeg
 
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