Golf Rules 2019 – What’s new in bunkers?

Previously, touching the sand in the bunker before the stroke was not permitted, except for very few exceptions. That's all changed in 2019 and we cover it here...

Golf Rules New in the Bunker

Touching the sand in the bunker (Rule 12)

Previously, touching the sand in the bunker before the stroke was not permitted, except for very few exceptions.

Now, touching the sand incidentally is basically allowed, i.e., you are permitted to lean on your club. However, you are still not allowed to test the sand condition before the stroke is played, improve the line of play, ground the club in front of or behind the ball, or touch the sand during practice swings.

Good to know: You, therefore, now do not have to be extra careful in bunkers, especially if you are not very close to the ball.

Loose impediments (Rule 15)

Previously, touching leaves, twigs, stones, branches, and other loose impediments in bunkers were not allowed.

Now, you can remove them anywhere without penalty, including in bunkers.

Good to know: Please bear in mind that the ball is still not allowed to move when removing loose impediments.  Golf Rules New in the Bunker

Unplayable ball in the bunker (Rule 19)

Previously, the player had three dropping options – each incurring one penalty stroke – if he declared his ball in a bunker unplayable.

Now, a fourth option is available. You can also drop the ball directly behind the bunker. However, this option costs two penalty strokes instead of just one.

Good to know: You can use this option to avoid playing a bunker shot at all, but in most cases, it will not be worth it.

Golf Rules New in the Bunker


Why subscribe to GolfersRx?

Here is another video from Yves C. Ton-That on Golf Rules 2019 What’s New on the Putting GreenJust one of the many golf instruction videos we have at GolfersRx.com.

GolfersRx.com is a team of golf experts who share your love and passion for the game of golf. We share in your enthusiasm to play better, similarly your frustrations when things aren’t going as planned.

The site brings together some of the best and brightest minds in all facets of the game of golf.  GolfersRx will help you master your swing, your putting stroke, your fitness, your short game, your mental focus and attitude, your health, and every other challenge you face on the course.  Above all, we are here to help with golf tips and golf drills to lower your golf score.  

Our experts have affected the lives of tens of thousands of golfers over the years, and they are now achieving lower scores, out-driving their peers, playing injury-free, and enjoying the game more than they ever thought they could.  

Here they are and along with their focus.


Quite the Chap (Colby Johannson) Golf Instruction videos and lessons to think smarter about golf.

Golf Labs (Gene Parente) master your golf swing sequence, mechanics, and technique.

Mr. Short Game (Matt Fisher) Chipping, Pitching and Putting tips and drills around the green.

Golf Yogi (Mark Williamson) Stretches for flexibility and overall golf fitness.

Golf Rules (Yves C. Ton-That) USGA Rules of Golf questions and interpretations to use for your advantage.

You must realize there is some work involved. GolfersRx.com may teach you a new thought process or a new swing technique. In addition, you will need to practice it.

You MUST be okay with trying some fresh, new techniques or embracing a new way of looking at some age-old problems. If so, GolfersRx.com is most likely for you.

In conclusion, check out our (other) social media pages.






  1. Bill Whitten

    June 11, 2019 at 4:08 pm

    I’m confused abut “touching the sand”. What do you mean by “you can lean on your club”? Who ever leans on their club?

    • G

      June 22, 2019 at 11:30 am

      If it’s a steep bunker, sometimes you need to use the club as a cane to keep from falling.

    • Tony McCann

      June 30, 2019 at 3:22 am

      By leaning on your club, you can tell how deep the sand is/texture of the sand. This is and additional “FEEL” to using your feet.

  2. delaney

    June 11, 2019 at 7:55 pm

    lots of people. ever watch golf on tv?

    • Bill Whitten

      June 14, 2019 at 6:46 am

      In the sand trap? I haven’t seen that.

  3. Merv

    June 12, 2019 at 4:40 pm

    How about if I hit my 3rd shot on a par 5 and saw the splash in the pond so I hit a provo but when I got there the ball had jumped out of the pond can I play that shot without penalty?

    • Kim Cross

      June 30, 2019 at 9:26 pm

      If the ball is not in the hazard, yes. If the ball jumped out of the pond but is still in a marked hazard area, no.

      • Marilyn Baker

        September 14, 2019 at 4:50 pm

        No, not under normal rules of golf. There used to be a local rule that the club could adopt which let you hit a provisional ball if it might be lost in a hazard, Not sure if it is still a “legal” local rule. It was used to speed up play.

  4. Alfredo

    June 19, 2019 at 3:42 pm

    I don’t think a player can nominate to hit a provisional ball if its virtually certain that – his/her first shot “splashed” into a water hazard (penalty area) or finished out of bounds.

    • Ben McGrath

      June 29, 2019 at 10:45 am

      You can hit a provisional for a ball that may or may not be OB. For a ball landing in a penalty area you should not hit a provisional. Either you find the ball or use the options for the penalty area. These options have changed in 2019 and are different for a red and a yellow penalty area.

  5. Mitch

    June 24, 2019 at 8:58 am

    What is allowed when your ball is in the sand trap but under 3 inches of water due to the rains that morning? Can you move the ball so as not to incur a penalty stroke?

  6. Charles Ward

    June 29, 2019 at 9:22 am

    If a tee shot lands in a penalty area (Water pond) Can player elect to tee up ball and hit 3 from the tee?

    • Kim Cross

      June 30, 2019 at 9:27 pm


  7. Franc

    July 26, 2019 at 2:21 pm

    What is the proper play when you hit a shot into a bunker and it’s held up on the slope by a rake?

  8. john carco

    October 9, 2019 at 7:34 pm

    if there is a deep foot print in a bunker and your ball is in the footprint can you smooth the footprint?


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *