The PGA of America has declared that all sandy areas at Kiawah Island’s Ocean Course will not be regarded as bunkers ahead of the 94th PGA Championship, contested between 9-12 August.

The 2010 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits was shrouded in controversy, with Dustin Johnson penalised two shots on the 72nd hole – and subsequently missing out on a play-off – for grounding his club in a waste area ruled to be a bunker.

This year, all sandy areas will be regarded as ‘through the green’ and not designated bunkers. The same Condition of Play was applied when Kiawah hosted the 29th Ryder Cup in 2001 and the Senior PGA Championship in 2007.

As a result of the ruling, players will be able to move lose impediments, take practice swings and ground their club lightly, except when their ball lies in a sandy area within a water or lateral water hazard.

All sandy areas inside the gallery rope line will be raked each morning. Rakes will also be available during play as a courtesy to smooth any irregularities of surface. However, as per the Rules of Golf, no relief will be provided if these areas aren’t raked or flattened.

The PGA of America President, Allen Wronowski, said: “With the unique topography of the Ocean Course, natural sandy areas spread throughout the entire property. All of these areas will be treated alike and played as ‘through the green’.

“We believe that by establishing the Condition of Play for the 94th PGA Championship well in advance, it will help players and spectators prepare for this spectacular major championship experience.”