Friday, March 11, 2016
Ask Linda #1266-Improve lie in bunker
Hi. I’m new to golf and I’m learning a lot of rules as I go.
But the other day I was given relief in a bunker from a very deep footprint (about 6" deep) that a golfer had not repaired. I was told to rake the place where the ball was and replace the ball.
I thought that would be improving my lie. But I was told that it was not my fault and a bunker should not be left in that condition.
I did what my marker told me to do and moved on. But it just did not sit well with me.
Lou from Adelaide, Australia
It doesn’t sit well with me either, Lou. While players are expected to care for the course, which would include careful raking as they exit a bunker, the players who follow must play the bunker as they find it. If your ball has the bad luck of settling in a footprint left behind for you by some “numpty” (thank you, reader from Scotland, for that addition to my vocabulary), you must play it as it lies or declare it unplayable. If you decide the ball is unplayable, drop it in the bunker (within two club-lengths, not closer to the hole; or straight back from the hole), or drop it where you played your last shot [please read Rule 28, “Unplayable Ball”]. This drop will add one penalty stroke to your score.
If you improve your lie in the bunker, you incur a penalty of two strokes for a breach of Rule 13-2. While you are permitted to smooth sand in a bunker at any time to care for the course, you may not do so if the smoothing improves the lie, stance, swing, or line of play for your stroke [Rule 13-4, Exception 2].
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