The R&A, USGA Announce Position On Raking A Similar Hazard


April 8, 2008
E-mail address: mediarelations@usga.org

The Joint Rules Committee (JRC), consisting of representatives of the Rules of Golf Committees of The R&A and the United States Golf Association, have issued an interpretation of Rule 13-4a with respect to testing the condition of a similar hazard (whether a bunker or a water hazard). At its customary April meeting, the JRC reviewed several issues relating to Rule 13-4 (Ball in Hazard; Prohibited Actions), including some that were carried over for resolution from the previous quadrennial Rules revision cycle. One such question was whether a player whose ball lies in a bunker may smooth sand to tidy up another bunker, even though he had not made a stroke from that other bunker.

After discussion, the JRC agreed on the following position, effective immediately:

 

Rule 13-4a prohibits a player from testing the condition of the hazard in which his ball lies or a similar hazard. Yet Exception 3 to the Rule, which was introduced in 2008, allows a player to test the condition of one hazard after playing from that hazard into a similar hazard. Although Decision 13-4/0.5 lists smoothing a bunker with a rake, club or otherwise as an example of testing the condition of the hazard, the Etiquette Section of the Rules of Golf provides that "Before leaving a bunker, players should carefully fill up and smooth over all holes and footprints made by them and any nearby made by others."

It is not the intent of Rule 13-4a to prohibit players from practicing the proper etiquette of the game when more than one bunker is involved. Therefore, 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 purpose of tidying up the bunker, (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 and (c) there is not a reasonable possibility that the smoothing could affect a subsequent stroke by the player.

If the player were to smooth sand in the bunker in which his ball lies prior to making his first stroke in that bunker, he would be in breach of Rule 13-4a.

While the JRC does not normally make public the results of its deliberations outside the updates of the Decisions on the Rules of Golf every two years and the Rules of Golf every four years, The R&A and the USGA do informally answer questions about the Rules of Golf as those questions arise. Questions have arisen in connection with a recent ruling involving Stewart Cink at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. In that situation, the player incurred a penalty for smoothing sand in a bunker from which he had not made a stroke, when his ball lay in another bunker -- a ruling that followed the USGA's Rules of Golf Committee's position at that time. To avoid such an act being a breach of the Rules in the future, the JRC has decided to make public its agreed position on smoothing a similar hazard.

 




 
   
Partner Links
AmEx image
AmEx image
AmEx image
AmEx image
Chevron
   

The USGA and Chevron have committed to using the game of golf to encourage students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines. This commitment has led to the creation of extensive golf-focused STEM teaching tools, and has resulted in charitable contributions to support golf-related programs through Eagles for Education™

At U.S. Open Championships the Chevron STEM ZONE™ is an interactive experience highlighting the science and math behind the game of golf through a variety of hands-on exhibits and experiments.

The partnership has also produced educational materials such as the Science of Golf video series and a nationally-distributed newspaper insert which are provided to teachers as tools to enhance existing curriculum in schools. These lessons teach the science behind the USGA’s equipment testing, handicapping, and agronomy efforts.

For more interactive experiences featuring golf-focused STEM lessons, visit the partnership homepage.


Chevron image
Rolex
   

Rolex has been a longtime supporter of the USGA and salutes the sportsmanship and great traditions unique to the game. This support includes the Rules of Golf where Rolex has partnered with the USGA to ensure golfers understand and appreciate the game.

As the official timekeeper of the USGA and its championships, they also provide clocks throughout host sites for spectator convenience.

For more information on Rolex and their celebration of the game, visit the Rolex and Golf homepage.



Rolex image
IBM
   

IBM has partnered with the USGA to bring the same technology, expertise, and innovation it provides to businesses all over the world to the USGA and golf's national championship.

IBM provides the information technology to develop and host the U.S. Open’s official website, www.usopen.com, as well as the mobile apps and scoring systems for the three U.S. Open championships. These real-time technology solutions provide an enhanced experience for fans following the championship onsite and online.

For more information on IBM and the technology that powers the U.S. Open and businesses worldwide, visit http://www.usopen.com/IBM

AmEx image
Lexus
   

Lexus is committed to partnering with the USGA to deliver a best-in-class experience for the world’s best golfers by providing a fleet of courtesy luxury vehicles for all USGA Championships.

At each U.S. Open, Women’s Open and Senior Open, Lexus provides spectators with access to unique experiences ranging from the opportunity to have a picture taken with both the U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open trophies to autograph signings with legendary Lexus Golf Ambassadors in the Lexus Performance Drive Pavilion.

For more information on Lexus, visit http://www.lexus.com/

AmEx image
American Express
   

Together, American Express and the USGA have been providing world-class service to golf fans since 2006. By creating interactive U.S. Open experiences both onsite and online, American Express enhances the USGA’s effort to make the game more accessible and enjoyable for fans.

For more information on American Express visit www.americanexpress.com/entertainment


AmEx image