Thursday, August 25, 2016

Ask Linda #1369-Rake bunker in alternate shot format

Hi Linda,
Can you clarify the rule re: raking a bunker? In a greensomes competition my partner played from a bunker and left it in the said bunker. Can the bunker be raked before I play and who can rake it? Could it be construed as testing the sand or am I reading too much into it?
Lou from Thornhill, Dumfries, Scotland

Dear Lou,

[“Greensomes” is a form of foursomes (alternate shot) where both players drive, select which drive they wish to use, and alternate into the hole.)

If the raking improves the area of your stance or swing or your line of play you will incur a two-stroke/loss-of-hole penalty for a breach of Rule 13-2. You may only rake the sand if the sole reason is to care for the course.

It may help you to understand this if you think of foursomes (alternate shot) as an individual tournament. If you were playing your own ball throughout the round, and you tried and failed to extricate your ball from a bunker, you would not be entitled to improve the bunker with respect to your next shot. The same holds true in alternate shot. Although there are two players, there is only one ball in play. You alternate hitting the same ball until it is holed. After your partner hits the ball, you must take the next shot as if you yourself had hit the previous shot.

If you were playing a four-ball (better-ball) format, and there were two balls in the bunker (yours and your fellow competitor’s), you would be entitled to restore your lie if the other player altered it with his shot. But in foursomes there is only one ball in play for you and your partner; if that ball is in a bunker, your play is governed by Rule 13-4.

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