Saturday, December 20, 2014

Ask Linda #968a-Dig feet into sand to test condition

Dear wise-and-gracious Linda,
I always worry about this – I take two clubs into the bunker and then take my stance, which includes digging in with my feet. If the sand seems firm I toss the S/W and use the lob wedge. (We have a lot of traps with areas with a little bit of sand on top of clay.)

Clearly I am testing the conditions when I dig in holding two clubs.

Lou in Murrysville, Pennsylvania

Dear Lou,

You are not testing the condition of the hazard of you dig in with your feet just enough to take your stance, whether it be for your actual shot or a practice swing, near or away from your ball.

You are testing the condition of the hazard of you dig in with your feet more than what would be necessary to take your stance for your shot or a practice swing.

Be aware that if you dig in to take a stance with one club in mind, and you alter your stance to take your shot with a different club, you may not fill in the footprints from your first stance prior to hitting your shot.

The fact that you are holding two clubs when you dig in has no bearing on this Rule. It is the amount of digging in that will determine whether you are violating Rule 13-4. You can’t avoid learning something about the condition of the sand when you maneuver your feet to take your stance, so you can stop feeling guilty about that.

For a helpful list of what actions do or do not constitute testing the condition of a hazard, please read Decision 13-4/0.5.

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