When there has been a lot of rain and bad weather on a golf course, washout areas can develop in bunkers where the sand has become very dry and hard.
Washout areas sometimes look like little streams that have been created by heavy rain and they can change the texture and formation of the sand in a bunker.
It would be very unfortunate for your ball to finish in a washout area, but it can happen and it is important to know if you are entitled to free relief or not.
As you can see in the video below, it is much nicer and easier to hit your ball off of sand that is fluffy and soft, as opposed to the dry sand in a washout area.
However, if your ball settles in one of these patches, you are not entitled to free relief and you must play the ball as it lies, or you can take an unplayable.
A local committee is able to adopt a local rule which makes washout areas in bunkers to be 'Ground Under Repair' (GUR).
This means that you would be able to get free relief, but for free relief in a bunker, you would have to stay in the bunker. This would only be according to the local rule.
It is important to know as many rules as possible when you are playing golf so that you can play without any worries or concerns.
So remember, when your ball finishes in a washout area in a bunker, you must play it as it lies unless you wish to take an unplayable.