USGA Rules Of Golf 12-1a

Rule 12-1a deals with searching for or identifying a ball that is covered by sand, anywhere on the course. The player is now entitled to touch or move as much sand as is deemed necessary to find or identify his ball. Once the ball has been properly found and identified, any sand that was moved must be replaced in order to re-create the original lie. Should the ball be moved, and it can be proven that the movement was directly attributable to the touching or moving of the sand to find or identify his ball, there is no penalty, and the ball must be replaced and the original lie re-created. In re-creating the lie under this Rule, the player is now allowed to leave a small part of the ball visible.

The old rule states that you were only able to touch the sand in a hazard but not outside the hazard. The old rule did not allow the player opportunity to move the sand at all as sand and loose soil are not loose impediments except on the putting green. Remember the 2010 PGA Championship at Whistling Straights, a Pete Dye designed course, when the PGA deemed all sandy areas was to be defined as bunkers. We all remember what happen to our very own Dustin Johnson when he was penalized for grounding his club in what was deemed by the PGA as a bunker.  

We at The Dye Club at Barefoot Resort & Golf, another Pete Dye designed gem where naturally occurring sandy  areas are prevalent throughout the course, have made a local rule stating that all bunkers are considered sandy areas “through the green”. By using this approach we eliminate the problem of defining one area of sand as a hazard and another adjoining sandy area as “through the green”. This also eliminates the possibility that players mistake what condition they are in by making all conditions the same and consistent. Players are now allowed to move loose impediments and to ground their club in these sandy areas.

Treating all sandy areas as “through the green” is somewhat contradictory to the rules regarding what defines a bunker, but we at The Dye Club have adopted the new Rule change to allow the players the options that were not available back in 2010. With this new Rule 12-1a, we hope it will give each and every player a more enjoyable experience as they play this hidden gem known as The Dye Course at Barefoot Resort.


Written by:

Jeff Diehl, PGA
Head Golf Professional
The Dye Club at Barefoot Resort

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