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Am I Allowed To Touch The Sand Before My Golf Bunker ShotsWhen it comes to playing shots from out of the bunker there are certain rules and regulations that you must follow. One of these rules is in regard to touching the sand.




The rule states that you are not allowed to touch the sand with your club or hand before playing the shot. This means that you have to hover the golf club when playing from the bunker in order to not incur a penalty. If you have been making practise swings in the bunker and hitting the sand prior to playing your shot then you are breaching the rules and you will incur a penalty. The rule is in order to stop players testing the surface and depth of the sand and also to stop players improving their lie.

There are exceptions to the rule of touching the sand where no penalty would be incurred though:

  • No penalty if you touch the sand to prevent yourself from falling in the bunker
  • No penalty for touching the sand to move an obstruction such as a rake
  • No penalty for laying clubs on the ground in the sand while you take your shot
  • No penalty for smoothing out the sand providing it is for caring for the course and does not improve your lie or your line of play.

You would incur a penalty for:

  • Casually leaning on your golf club whilst waiting to play your shot
  • Digging your feet in the bunker to test the sands depth
  • Touching the sand behind the ball prior or during the back swing

When setting up to the ball, you have to hover the club head in order not to touch the surface of the sand before playing the stroke. You can also gently dig your feet into the bunker to create a solid base. Learn the rules of golf in order to help the game be played over a fair playing field.

Sorry Try Again! - See Explanation Below

If you are casually waiting for your playing partners whilst stood in the bunker, decide to lean on your club and touch the sand with the club, then you will incur a penalty. You can, however, lay a spare club on the sand while you play your shot and would incur no penalty strokes. Learn the rules before you incur penalty strokes.

Sorry Try Again! - See Explanation Below

If you are taking practise swings in the bunker, hitting the sand prior to playing your shot, you will incur a penalty. This penalty is incurred due to testing the sand prior to playing your shot. Make your practise swings prior to entering the bunker.

Sorry Try Again! - See Explanation Below

Drawing a line behind the ball will remove the sand from behind the golf ball. This removal of sand will improve your lie and you will also be deemed to have tested the surface of the sand. You would incur a penalty for such actions. You must not touch the sand behind the ball prior to making your down swing of the intended stroke.