The CSGA Links Volume 2 Issue 2 April, 2014 - Page 40

What’s the Ruling? A player’s ball lands in the middle of a large fairway bunker. In an effort to speed up play, the player rakes his footprints as he walks toward his ball in the bunker. The raking occurred before he played his shot. What’s the ruling? Answer: To address this question, let’s first take a look at what the player isn’t allowed to do. Before a player makes a stroke at a ball that is in a bunker, he must not (1) test the condition of that bunker or any similar hazard. An example of testing the condition of a bunker is the player who splashes sand when taking practice swings. (2) He must not touch the ground in the bunker with his hand or a club. And (3) he must not touch or move a loose impediment lying in or touching the bunker. Loose impediments are natural things like stones, leaves, twigs and branches. These prohibitions are straightforward, but don’t get too comfortable – there are some exceptions to keep in mind. Provided the player does not test the condition of the hazard or improve the lie of the ball, without penalty, he may touch the ground or loose impediments in the bunker without penalty if he falls in the bunker. He may touch the ground in the bunker to remove a movable obstruction such as a rake. He may touch the ground in the bunker in measuring, or marking the position of, retrieving, lifting, placing or replacing a ball under any Rule. And, the player may place his clubs in the bunker without penalty. Now for the answer: The player may also smooth sand in the bunker with a rake or otherwise provided it is done solely for the purpose of caring for the course and nothing is done to improve the lie of the ball or the area of intended stance or line of play for the next stroke. Once the ball is outside the bunker after the stroke, the player may smooth sand in the bunker without restriction. After making a stroke from within the bunker, if the ball comes to rest in another hazard (bunker or water hazard), the prohibitions listed above do not apply to any actions taken in the bunker from which the stroke was made. So in this case, provided the player did not smooth his line of play or area of his intended swing, there is no penalty for his actions prior to his shot. Rake away! Article and Video Courtesy of the Golf Association der Borght 40 Connecticut State USGA / John Van