Rules FAQ

Rule 23-1

Stones in Bunkers

Q. What is the status of stones in bunkers?

A. Stones are by definition loose impediments regardless of their location. Thus, when the ball and the stone lie in or touch the same hazard, the stone may not be removed. However, a Committee may adopt a Local Rule stating that stones in bunkers are movable obstructions. Unless this Local Rule is put into effect by the Committee, players may not remove stones in bunkers without penalty.

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Loose Impediments

Dealing with loose impediments

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Boulder was considered a loose impediment

In the final round of the 1999 Phoenix Open, Tiger Woods' tee shot sailed wide left and came to rest behind a large boulder. Upon examining the situation, Woods asked the Rules Official if the boulder was considered a loose impediment.

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Immovable obstruction

During a playoff at the 1987 Los Angeles Open, Ben Crenshaw’s ball landed on this artificially-surfaced service road adjacent to the 15th fairway. Classified as an “immovable obstruction,” Crenshaw was entitled to relief without penalty from the road under Rule 24-2.