Monday, August 3, 2015

Ask Linda #1118-Rake partner’s footprints

Hi Linda,

I have been told on more than one occasion that there can only be one person in a bunker at any time. For example, today the person I was playing with was taking a bunker shot, so I thought to save time I would enter the bunker and rake it after she had played her shot. I was instantly told I could not do this as two people are not allowed in the bunker, but I was not told what the penalty would be.

If my ball had also been in the bunker, but away from the other ball, could I have raked for my partner or would this be classed as testing the ground for my shot? In which case, what would the penalty have been?

Lulu from England

Dear Lulu,

There is no limit on how many players may stand in a bunker at the same time.

Raking the sand for your partner while your ball is in the same bunker would not constitute testing the condition of the hazard, provided it is done for the sole purpose of caring for the course [Rule 13-4, Exception 2]. However, you’re on tricky ground here. If your ball is in the same bunker, why isn’t your partner raking her own footprints while you prepare to hit your ball? I suspect you might have trouble convincing your opponents or fellow competitors that you did not gain knowledge about the condition of the bunker by delaying your shot to rake your partner’s footprints.

The penalty for testing the condition of the bunker before hitting your ball is two strokes (loss of hole in match play).

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