Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Ask Linda #1247-Ball leans against rake in bunker

Hello Linda,
I have just taken up golf - I live in the state of South Australia.
Last week I put my ball into a sand bunker (I think you call them traps in the U.S.). The ball ended up resting against the sand rake inside the bunker.
What should I have done? We were not keeping score, but I would like to know anyway.
I moved the rake, ensuring the ball did not move, and then managed to use my sand wedge to hit it up onto the green…which I was pleased about.
Thank you for a great blog, by the way.
Lulu from Lenswood, South Australia

Dear Lulu,

A rake is a movable obstruction. You are entitled to lift it. If your ball moves, you must replace it, no penalty [Rule 24-1a].

I’m a little concerned by what you mean when you say: “I moved the rake, ensuring the ball did not move.” You may not hold the ball in place while you remove the rake. If you suspect the ball may move, and you want to be sure to remember exactly where it was, you may mark the position of the ball before you remove the rake. Marking is not a requirement, but it is a procedure I generally recommend – it saves confusion and arguments about where to replace the ball.

If the ball will not stay put when you replace it, place it on the nearest spot in the bunker, no closer to the hole, where it will remain at rest. If no such spot exists (this will happen on a downslope at the back of the bunker), you will have to drop outside the bunker (behind it on the line-of-sight to the hole), and add a one-stroke penalty to your score. Because of the possibility of this unfortunate and undeserved penalty, please avoid dropping the rake in the back of the bunker on a course that requests that you place rakes in the bunker.

Incidentally, bunkers are called “bunkers” everywhere. “Trap” is a colloquial and popular but inaccurate term for a “bunker.”

Have fun learning the game! I’m very glad to see a new golfer interested in learning the Rules.

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