You’ve probably heard that Sergio Garcia was recently disqualified form a tournament, right?

The viral video showed him repeatedly striking the stand in anger with his club. But that’s not what got him disqualified. Garcia was disqualified for damaging the green (but that wasn’t caught on video)

His actions in the bunker were perfectly legal and he did not incur any penalty strokes there because Rule 12.b (2) says striking the sand in frustration or anger does not result in a penalty.

But during a normal round, I think we’ve all seen players begin to hit a shot out of a bunker and they end up bruising sand in the bunker in their backswing.

And you might be under the impression that under the 2019 rules that it’s okay to do so. But its not.

You can ground your club, but only incidentally, and you cannot touch the sand in making the backswing for your stroke.

Per USGA:

When touching sand results in Penalty: Before making a stroke at a ball in a bunker, a player must not:

  • Deliberately touch sand in the bunker with a hand, club, rake or other objects​ to test the condition of the sand to learn information for the next stroke
  • Touch sand in the bunker with a club: Either in the area right in front or right behind the ball (except as allowed under Rule 7.1a in fairly searching for a ball or under Rule 12.2a in removing a loose impediment or movable obstruction) or in making the backswing for a stroke.
  •  

See more of the 2019 Rules of Golf at USGA.org

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