Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Ask Linda #1029-Rake footprints in bunker

Dear Linda
My ball was in a bunker - way ahead of it, in the bunker, where my ball might land if I fluffed it, were the deep imprints left by last night's rhinoceros wrestling championships. Or whatever, it was really ugly.  I used the rake as a bulldozer and prettified the area before taking my stroke and amazing my companions (and myself) with my brilliant bunker shot. 
Was it OK to do this, or should I go down the garden and eat worms? 

Your admirer,
Lou from England

Dear Lou,

You are not permitted to improve your line of play by raking the sand in front of your ball in the bunker [Rule 13-2]. The penalty is two strokes (loss of hole in match play). Eating worms is optional.

You are permitted to smooth sand in a bunker prior to making a stroke, provided your only reason for doing so is to care for the course and the raking does not breach Rule 13-2 for your next stroke [Rule 13-4, Exception 2]. What this means, basically, is you may not rake the area where you will stand or swing, or your line of play. However, if you have to retrieve a rake from another part of the bunker, and your exit from the bunker will not retrace those steps, you may (and should) rake them.

Please remember that any raking prior to your shot must be solely for the purpose of caring for the course. If a player is constantly raking footprints prior to his bunker shots, suspicion that he is trying to gain knowledge about the condition of the bunker would be reasonable, and the player would incur a two-stroke penalty under Rule 13-4 for testing the condition of the hazard [Decision 13-4/9].

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