Rules FAQ


Rule 13-4

Position On Raking A Similar Hazard

Q.  What is the ruling when a player's ball lies in a bunker and he smooths the sand in the same or another bunker (from which he has not played)?

A.  Rule 13-4a prohibits a player from testing the condition of the hazard in which his ball lies or a similar hazard, however Exception 2 to Rule 13-4 allows a player to rake an area of the bunker for the sole purpose of caring for the course as long as nothing is done to breach Rule 13-2 for his next stroke. A player would be in breach of Rule 13-2 for his next stroke if he improved the lie of his ball, the area of his intended swing, stance, his line of play or a reasonable extension of it beyond the hole or any area where he is to place or drop a ball.

Note: This FAQ has been updated to reflect the 2012 Rules of Golf.

When the player’s ball lies in a bunker, it would not be a breach of the Rules if the player were to smooth the sand in another bunker, provided (a) the smoothing is for the sole purpose of caring for the course, (b) the smoothing does not breach Rule 13-2 (Improving Lie, Area of Intended Stance or Swing, or Line of Play) with respect to his next stroke.

A player should not rake an area of the bunker if he believes his ball might come to rest in that area as this would not be for the sole purpose of caring for the course and would be a violation of Rule 1-2. For example, if he thought that his ball might hit the lip and bounce back to a specific area in the bunker, he must not rake that area.


Below you can view videos related to this Rule.

Video
Playing the ball as it lies - Part 1
Playing the ball as it lies - prohibitions
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Video
Playing the ball as it lies - Part 2
Playing the ball as it lies - exceptions
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Video
Ball in an awkward lie beneath an overhanging tree branch
During the 2001 Memorial Tournament Scott Hoch found his ball in an awkward lie beneath an overhanging tree branch.
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Moving stones away by kicking them from within the water hazard
During the 1991 Doral Open, Paul Azinger moved stones away by kicking them from within the water hazard. According to Rule 13-4, a player shall not touch or move a loose impediment.
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Play a shot out of a bunker
At the 1986 MONY Tournament of Champions, Calvin Peete prepared to play his shot out of a bunker. In doing so, he violated Rule 13-3.
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A player is entitled to place his feet firmly in taking his stance
In 1987, at the PGA's annual event in San Diego, Craig Stadler placed a towel beneath his knees to protect his pants from the wet ground. However, coming into play was Rule 13-
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