2019 Rules Change: Taking Unplayable Lie In A Bunker

In 2019, the player will have an extra option allowing relief outside the bunker using the back-on-the-line procedure, but for a total of two penalty strokes (Rule 19-3b).

Reasons for Change

It is not uncommon for a player to need to take unplayable ball relief in a bunker, such as when the ball is very close to the bunker wall or lip. Playing from a bunker can be very difficult for some players, especially when the bunker has steep walls.

This can present particular problems in stroke play because the player must finish the hole and so cannot simply pick up and move to the next hole after multiple tries to play the ball from the bunker. Giving those players an option for taking relief outside the bunker will allow them to keep playing rather than be disqualified.

This extra option will result in a total of two penalty strokes, to make sure that:

  • The penalty is consistent with the significant amount of relief being allowed, and
  • This option does not become commonly used by players who are able to play from a bunker.

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