Most of us think that we know a bunker when we see one. Well, it may not be quite as simple as you think. Whilst we at Harvey only have a small number of bunkers confronting us in our round of golf, many of us travel to other courses where some of the following may apply.

Lets start by referencing the Definition of Bunker;  A “bunker is a hazard consisting of a prepared area of ground, often a hollow, from which turf or soil has been removed and replaced with sand of the like.

Grass-covered ground bordering or within a bunker, including a stacked turf face (whether grass-covered or earthen), is not part of the bunker. A wall or lip of the bunker not covered with grass is part of the bunker. The margin of a bunker extends vertically downwards, but not upwards.

A ball is in a bunker when it lies in or any part of it touches the bunker.

There are several points to note here;

  • A stacked turf bunker face is not part of the bunker.
  • A natural, earth wall of a bunker is part of the bunker, even though there may be no sand left on it.
  • An artificial wall of a bunker (e.g. lined with wooden sleepers) is an immovable obstruction, unless a Local Rule makes the construction integral to the course.
  • A ball that enters an abnormal ground condition (e.g. a hole made by a burrowing animal) in a bunker, rolls underneath and past the margin of the bunker, is not in the bunker, because it is outside the margin, which extends downwards.
  • A ball that partly touches grass that is outside the bunker and sand that is inside the bunker is in the bunker.

Some Decisions on bunkers reveal further points;

  • Sand that has spilled over the margin of the bunker is not part of the bunker, Decision 13/1.
  • A ball that lies on the edge of the bunker, overhanging the lip but not touching the sand, is not in the bunker, because the margin does not extend vertically upwards.
  • A ball that is completely embedded in the vertical lip of a bunker that is not grass-covered is in the bunker, so there is no relief for an embedded ball, Decision 13/4.
  • A ball that is lying on any type of obstruction in a bunker (e.g. a rake, or exposed plastic lining) is in the bunker, Decision 13/5

Happy golfing and try to stay out of the bunkers!