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Sand trap question

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
On my last round I penalized myself without knowing the ruling, so I come to the rule experts for the answer! My ball laid inside the bunker, while I was approaching my ball I reached into the bunker with my wedge to grab the rake. As I slid my wedge under the handle it noticably scraped the surface of the sand. My intentions were not to test the conditions, but as a result of my actions that is what occured. Since it wasn't intentional is it still a penalty for grounding my club in the hazard?
post #2 of 23

Yes, you grounded a club in the hazard.

 

I believe the only way you get away with this is if you are falling over. Lets say your standing in the hazard, hitting a ball and you start falling backwards, lets say into a water hazard. You place your club in the water to keep yourself from falling, that is not a penalty. If you just lazily set your club down in the hazard for no reason, even if it wasn't intentional to test the conditions, its a penalty.

post #3 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by saevel25 View Post

Yes, you grounded a club in the hazard.

 

I believe the only way you get away with this is if you are falling over. Lets say your standing in the hazard, hitting a ball and you start falling backwards, lets say into a water hazard. You place your club in the water to keep yourself from falling, that is not a penalty. If you just lazily set your club down in the hazard for no reason, even if it wasn't intentional to test the conditions, its a penalty.

 

Not necessarily.  See Exception 1 to Rule 13-4:

 

 

Quote:

13-4. Ball In Hazard; Prohibited Actions

Except as provided in the Rules, before making a stroke at a ball that is in ahazard (whether a bunker or a water hazard) or that, having been lifted from ahazard, may be dropped or placed in the hazard, the player must not:

a. Test the condition of the hazard or any similar hazard;

b. Touch the ground in the hazard or water in the water hazard with his hand or a club; or

c. Touch or move a loose impediment lying in or touching the hazard.

Exceptions:

1. Provided nothing is done that constitutes testing the condition of the hazardor improves the lie of the ball, there is no penalty if the player (a) touches the ground or loose impediments in any hazard or water in a water hazard as a result of or to prevent falling, in removing an obstruction, in measuring or in marking the position of, retrieving, lifting, placing or replacing a ball under anyRule or (b) places his clubs in a hazard.

 

As long as there is no intent to test and nothing is done which would constitute testing, inadvertent touching to remove a movable obstruction (that's what the rake is) is not in itself a breach.

 

This case is yet another good argument the USGA's recommendation for leaving the rakes outside of the bunkers.  That eliminates the question.

post #4 of 23

Then why did Michelle Wie get hit by the penalty when she leaned on her club in a hazard. It wasn't to improve the lie, or test the conditions, she just placed it on the ground.

 

The problem i think is, you can't prove intent. even if you pick up the rack, you still garner information about the sand. I would constitute that a penalty.

post #5 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by saevel25 View Post

Then why did Michelle Wie get hit by the penalty when she leaned on her club in a hazard. It wasn't to improve the lie, or test the conditions, she just placed it on the ground.

 

The problem i think is, you can't prove intent. even if you pick up the rack, you still garner information about the sand. I would constitute that a penalty.

 

Because she is not performing any of the acts allowed in the exceptions to the rule.  Decision 13-4/2:

 

 

Quote:

13-4/2

Leaning on Club in Hazard While Waiting to Play

Q.A, whose ball lies in a hazard, casually leans on his club in the hazard while waiting for B to play. What is the ruling?

A.A was in breach of Rule 13-4b for touching the ground in the hazard with his club before making a stroke. The Exceptions to Rule 13-4 do not apply.

post #6 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by saevel25 View Post

Then why did Michelle Wie get hit by the penalty when she leaned on her club in a hazard. It wasn't to improve the lie, or test the conditions, she just placed it on the ground.

 

The problem i think is, you can't prove intent. even if you pick up the rack, you still garner information about the sand. I would constitute that a penalty.

 

This is why I penalized myself not knowing the proper ruling. I had no intent of testing the surface but as a result of removing the rake I did in fact gain knowledge of the conditions. In reality I should have played my shot and returned to the rake after making a shot out of the hazard so that I didn't have to worry about this. Now let me take my original question a step further. Since under the rules i didn't necessarily have to penalize myself, would anyone on this forum issue the penalty on themselves?
post #7 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Motown88 View Post

 

This is why I penalized myself not knowing the proper ruling. I had no intent of testing the surface but as a result of removing the rake I did in fact gain knowledge of the conditions. In reality I should have played my shot and returned to the rake after making a shot out of the hazard so that I didn't have to worry about this. Now let me take my original question a step further. Since under the rules i didn't necessarily have to penalize myself, would anyone on this forum issue the penalty on themselves?

 

I would not have penalized myself.  I think a large part of it is intent.  If you had picked up the rake with your hand (and your hand touched the sand), you would have also gained knowledge of the conditions. 

 

This rule, to me, is interesting.  How do you actually walk in the bunker without testing the conditions?  I can tell fairly easily how the sand is just by walking to my ball.

post #8 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by 14ledo81 View Post

 

I would not have penalized myself.  I think a large part of it is intent.  If you had picked up the rake with your hand (and your hand touched the sand), you would have also gained knowledge of the conditions. 

 

This rule, to me, is interesting.  How do you actually walk in the bunker without testing the conditions?  I can tell fairly easily how the sand is just by walking to my ball.

 

That is true, and actually reading it like that kind of makes me feel like a fool. For some reason I never thought of myself walking in the bunker as learning the condition, and honestly I gained a lot more from walking to my ball then the quick brush of my club.
post #9 of 23

Walking is different because its an action required to hit the shot. Touching the sand with your hand isn't. I agree picking up a rack is needed as well. But to do it with the club, that is not required. I understand the need not to want to bend over, but i was always told never to ground the club in a hazard.

post #10 of 23
Though as a member of the LPGA found out recently you (or in her case your caddie) need to be careful about testing the surface whilst stood in the bunker, ie don't wiggle your feet to get an idea of how the sand feels.

Do make sure your stance is stable (without building one of course) but don't test the surface.
post #11 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wansteadimp View Post

Though as a member of the LPGA found out recently you (or in her case your caddie) need to be careful about testing the surface whilst stood in the bunker, ie don't wiggle your feet to get an idea of how the sand feels.

Do make sure your stance is stable (without building one of course) but don't test the surface.

 

Actually it was the caddie who committed the breach, but the point is the same.  Do only what you need to when your ball lies in a bunker.  Know the provisions in Rule 13-4, and the exceptions, then be careful anyway. a2_wink.gif

post #12 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fourputt View Post

Actually it was the caddie who committed the breach, but the point is the same.  Do only what you need to when your ball lies in a bunker.  Know the provisions in Rule 13-4, and the exceptions, then be careful anyway. a2_wink.gif

Yep I know - the "(or in her case your caddie) " probably gave this away.
post #13 of 23

If you land in a hazard that has tall grass in it, you may be better off just to take a penalty drop outside the hazard. If you brush the grass on your backswing, that counts as grounding the club.

post #14 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by WUTiger View Post

If you land in a hazard that has tall grass in it, you may be better off just to take a penalty drop outside the hazard. If you brush the grass on your backswing, that counts as grounding the club.

 

No it doesn't.  It's only grounding if you rest the club in a way that the grass supports its weight.  You are allowed to touch anything which is growing in the hazard.

 

This note is at the end of Rule 13-4:

 

 

Quote:
Note: At any time, including at address or in the backward movement for thestroke, the player may touch, with a club or otherwise, any obstruction, any construction declared by the Committee to be an integral part of the course or any grass, bush, tree or other growing thing.
post #15 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wansteadimp View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fourputt View Post

Actually it was the caddie who committed the breach, but the point is the same.  Do only what you need to when your ball lies in a bunker.  Know the provisions in Rule 13-4, and the exceptions, then be careful anyway. a2_wink.gif

Yep I know - the "(or in her case your caddie) " probably gave this away.

 

I think the takeaway here is that the player is allowed to get a stance but the caddie is not, and in fact shouldn't be in the bunker in the first place.

post #16 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by sacm3bill View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wansteadimp View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fourputt View Post

Actually it was the caddie who committed the breach, but the point is the same.  Do only what you need to when your ball lies in a bunker.  Know the provisions in Rule 13-4, and the exceptions, then be careful anyway. a2_wink.gif

Yep I know - the "(or in her case your caddie) " probably gave this away.

 

I think the takeaway here is that the player is allowed to get a stance but the caddie is not, and in fact shouldn't be in the bunker in the first place.

 

There is no reason for him not to go in the bunker, but he has no business "digging in".

post #17 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fourputt View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by sacm3bill View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wansteadimp View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fourputt View Post

Actually it was the caddie who committed the breach, but the point is the same.  Do only what you need to when your ball lies in a bunker.  Know the provisions in Rule 13-4, and the exceptions, then be careful anyway. a2_wink.gif

Yep I know - the "(or in her case your caddie) " probably gave this away.

 

I think the takeaway here is that the player is allowed to get a stance but the caddie is not, and in fact shouldn't be in the bunker in the first place.

 

There is no reason for him not to go in the bunker, but he has no business "digging in".

 

I would argue there is a reason for him not to go in, and you said it yourself: Do only what you need to, then be careful anyway.  So what reason is there for a caddie *to* go in? Sure, maybe to get a closer look at the lie, but how often is that really necessary (where you couldn't get just as good of a look from the bunkers edge), so why take a chance?

post #18 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fourputt View Post

 

There is no reason for him not to go in the bunker, but he has no business "digging in".

My memory was he wasn't even close to where you'd take a stance to the ball, it was blatant testing the surface, a proper WTF moment.

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