No Bunkers At PGA Championship

imageIn 2010, a grounded club in an unrecognized bunker perhaps cost Dustin Johnson the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits. That won’t happen this year at the PGA Championship at the Ocean Course because there wont’ be any bunkers. Instead, all sandy areas will be treated as “through the green” unless part of red or yellow stake water hazards. (photo left: The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island)

The no-bunker local rule previously has been used there during the 1991 Ryder Cup and the 2007 Senior PGA Championship. The rule makes sense there because of large number of sandy areas, some neatly defined as with a regular bunker, and others grown wild and irregular. The design is from the oft-diabolical mind of Pete Dye.

I’m sure the on-the-ground rules officials are breathing a sigh of relief over this one.

The Kiawa rules are the polar opposite of Whistling Straits. There, all of the sandy areas were defined as bunkers—and thus, the Dustin Johnson miscue.

I can appreciate the difficulty of deciding what constitutes a bunker on those South Carolina courses. During my recent trip to Myrtle Beach, I was often unsure what separated waste areas from bunkers on the Barefoot Landing Norman Course and at Dornoch Glenn. In both of those cases, my Myrtle Beach veteran playing partners informed me that if you could find a rake in the area it was a bunker. Otherwise, it’s a waste area.

I was astonished to find that on some of the holes, you could drive your cart in the waste areas, but not on the fairways. I had to double check on that one, but my playing partners, who were members of the Norman club assured me that was the rule.

Norman Course-8714
The Norman Course At Barefoot Landing

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