Total hypothetical, but interesting. Tom drives his ball into the greenside sand bunker. Across the green is the pond. Rained heavy the prior day, Tom is very uncertain how to play the shot, about 40 yrds from the pin. He decides to take some practice swings onto the sand, obviously testing the conditions. Once, twice, 3X Tom digs into the sand. Then he blasts out near to the pin. How many penalty strokes for Tom?
In the hazard, test away.
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As far as I can understand:
1: If he knew it was a breach, or was made aware of it after the first swing: Six shots penalty.
Player Advised of Breach of Rule; Player Breaches Same Rule Prior to Stroke
Q. In stroke play, a competitor, whose ball lies in a bunker, makes a practice swing and touches the ground in the bunker with his club. His fellow-competitor advises him that his action may be a breach of the Rules. The competitor disagrees and makes several more practice swings prior to making his stroke, touching the sand each time. What is the penalty?
A. As the competitor was correctly advised that touching the ground in the bunker with his club during a practice swing was a breach of the Rules (Rule 13-4b), the third principle in Decision 1-4/12 is not applicable. Therefore, the competitor is penalized four strokes - two strokes for the initial breach and two strokes for all subsequent breaches when the additional practice swings were made.
If he didn't know it was a breach: Two shots penalty.
Touching Ground in Hazard with Several Practice Swings
Q. In stroke play, a competitor in ignorance of the Rules took several practice swings in a hazard, touching the ground each time. What is the penalty?
A. Two strokes for a breach of Rule 13-4.
Only one adjustment to Zeph's comment on 1-4/13. It's still only 4 strokes maximum. 2 strokes for the initial breach and 2 more for the accumulated additional strokes. That decision only applies if the player is informed of the breach, then continues to break the rule. I ran across a similar incident a few years ago in which a fellow competitor in my group moved a loose impediment when his ball lay in a hazard. After being informed of the breach, he figured that since he already had incurred the he might as well get his money's worth and moved 2 more sticks from behind his ball. The committee informed him of the 2 additional penalty strokes before he returned his card.
For Joe's hypothesis: 2 stroke penalty for testing the condition. The following is the explanation of how to treat this case of multiple breaches of the same rule. Decision 1-4/12 has explanations of several potentially complex multiple breaches. It doesn't matter if he knew what he was doing or not. 2 strokes is sufficient to ensure that he doesn't gain an advantage from his act.
3. Related Acts Result in One Rule Being Breached More Than Once - Single Penalty Applied
Example 1: In stroke play, a competitor takes several practice swings in a hazard, touching the ground each time. The practice swings are related acts breaching a single Rule. The ruling would be a single two-stroke penalty under Rule 13-4b
Yeah, you're right. I read "two strokes for each subsequent...", but it's too late to edit the post now. The wording is: