No.9 Objects in a Bunker

A player's ball lies in a bunker close to several objects. Which objects may be removed from the bunker without penalty?
a) A score card
b) A can
c) A leaf


d) A plastic bag
e) A twig
f) The player's own glove

g) The player's own ball marker
h) An abandoned tee peg
i) A loose divot of grass
Answers: The player may remove a), b), d), f), g), and h) as these are all movable obstructions.

The player may not remove c), e) and i) as these are loose impediments.

Loose impediments are natural objects. When a player's ball and a loose impediment lie in or touch the same hazard the loose impediment may not be moved. Obstructions are artificial objects and are movable anywhere on the course, providing they can be moved without unreasonable effort.
Of course stones are natural objects and are therefore loose impediments, which ordinarily may not be removed from hazards when the ball lies in the same hazard (Rule 23-1). However, many course Committees introduce a Local Rule permitting stones to be removed in this circumstance; the reason being that it can be dangerous if a player hits a stone in the air in the process of making a stroke at their ball.

Appendix l, Part A, in the Rules of Golf expressly permits such a Local Rule that allows the removal of stones in bunkers by declaring them to be movable obstructions (Rule 24-1). Another reason to always check the Local Rules before commencing a round on an unfamiliar course.
Another 'Rhodes Rules School' Q&A will follow next week.

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