You hit a massive drive that tails just a bit. When you arrive to your drive, you find it has bounced into a gigantic bunker. You practically need a telescope to even see you ball. With shoulders hunched, you grab your desired club to get the ball out in good shape. As you turn to the bunker you dread the thought of trekking across what seems like the state of Texas to your ball, digging you feet in at address, taking big swing, watching the ball soar with beauty out of the bunker and then hike back to the edge to retrieve the rake just to turn around and trudge back to clean up your ‘mess’ and this is all in 100 degree heat!
So you wonder: Do I really have to walk an extra mile (so it seems with the ginormous bunker) to play the shot, retrieve the rake, clean up my ‘bunker-shot-mess’ and head back and climb my way out?
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 or the like
Am I, the player, allowed to place the rake or clubs in the bunker near me while I execute my shot? In other words, while playing my shot, can I bring extra clubs along with the rake into the bunker, lay them down in the bunker (sand) and hit the shot without penalty?
Yes, as a matter of fact, you are allowed to take a rake or clubs into the bunker with you and lay them down next to you (in the sand) while you play your stroke. This is only allowed provided you do not improve the lie of the ball or test the condition of the hazard in doing so.
The good news here is that you are allowed to take in a couple of clubs into the Texas-sized bunkers because we all know that when we get there, we may select a different club than the one we ‘thought’ originally. It is nice to know we can bring practically our entire bag with us so we can make the best decision without all the going back and forth to our bag outside the bunker.
Extra Notes on this Rule
This rule centers around a bunker as a ‘hazard’. And if ‘bunker’ is a hazard, is anything else included in this rule?
Definition of a Hazard: By definition, a hazard is any bunker OR water hazard.
So, by definition of a hazard, would you be able to take a couple clubs into a water hazard and lay them down next to you while you play your shot (provided you decide to play a shot from a water hazard)?
The answer is the same as a bunker: YES. Again, as long as you are not improving the lie of the ball or testing the condition of the hazard, you are good to go and can proceed without penalty.
Both a Bunker and Water Hazard are considered hazards and fall under the same rule.
We would all like to think we keep it in the short stuff, but on very rare occasions we do find ourselves in a hazard. I love the idea that I don’t have to hike across the barren desert or swim across what seems like the ocean to assess the shot and then hike/swim my way back and forth trying to decide on the correct club.
I can now take my clubs with me, lay the ones I am not going to use down (without testing the conditions or improving my ball’s lie) and confidently strike the ball towards my intended target…without any excess energy spent trekking back and forth to the hazard’s edge.
Enjoy your game and let us know at Bunkers Paradise if you have any thoughts or questions.
‘keep smiling and always believe’