4. Be careful what you use to check the wind
Who of us hasn’t pulled up a handful of grass and chucked it up into the air to see where the wind is going? That’s still fine but make sure you’re not caught out using anything else that could be deemed an “artificial object”.
Substituting the grass for powder, for instance, would be a no no – as are other objects for the “sole purpose of getting wind related information”.
Among the interpretations for Rule 4.3a (2) is a very specific example involving a handkerchief.
So if you “take a handkerchief out for the sole purpose of holding it in the air to see which direction the wind is going, the player’s action is a breach of Rule 4.3.”
That comes with a price. It’s a two-stroke penalty for the first time. Do it again and it’s disqualification.
5. You can stop a ball before it comes to rest in this specific instance
In fact it’s not just you. Anyone else can also deliberately stop your ball – either within or outside a relief area – before it comes to rest if there is no reasonable chance it will come to rest in the area.
You can find this in an exception to Rule 14.3d. Last year, if the ball was stopped before it rolled out of the permitted area (and that included the two club lengths allowed to roll) you would have picked up a general penalty.
So what does it mean in practice? If you are taking lateral relief from a red penalty area, for example, you can now stop it rolling down that steep slope and into the water before it gets to the margin line.
6. Just hit the face of a bunker? Keep calm and carry on
The definition of the bunker has changed and now only includes the area covered – or normally covered – by sand. That means you no longer receive a penalty for hitting the wall or face of the bunker with your backswing.