In this latest article Frank discusses the dos and don’t when pertaining to golf hazards. Rule 13-4 Ball in Hazard; Prohibited Actions states: “Except as provided in the Rules, before making a stroke at a ball that is in a hazard (whether bunker or water hazard) or that, having been lifted from a hazard, the player must not: a) Test the condition of the hazard or any similar hazard.” What is meant by “test the condition of the hazard” in Rule 13-4a?
The term encompasses all actions by which the player could gain more information about the hazard than could be gained from taking his stance for the stroke to be made, keeping in mind that a certain amount of digging in with the feet in the sand or soil is permitted when taking the stance for a stroke.
Examples of actions that would not would not be deemed testing the condition of the hazard include:
*digging in with the feet for a stance, including for a practice swing, anywhere in the hazard or in a similar hazard;
*placing an object, like a club or rake, in the hazard;
*leaning on an object (other than a club) such as a rake while it is touching the ground in the hazard or water in a water hazard;
*touching the hazard with an object (other than a club) such as a towel;
*marking the position of the ball with a tee or otherwise when proceeding under a Rule.
Examples of actions that would be deemed testing the condition of the hazard in breach of Rule 13-4a include:
*digging in with the feet in excess of what would be done for a stance for a stroke or practice swing;
*intentionally sticking an object, like a rake, into sand or soil in the hazard or water in a water hazard (but see Rule 12-1);
*filling in footprints from a previous stance (e.g. when changing stance to make a different type of stroke);
*smoothing a bunker with a rake, club or otherwise (but see Exception 2 to Rule 13-4)
*kicking the ground in the hazard or water in a water hazard;
*touching the sand with a club when making a practice swing in the hazard or in a similar hazard (but see Exception 3 to Rule 13-4).
If you have questions on the Rules of Golf or comments on this article please direct them to Mike Fay Golf. As always, here is hope that you are Playing By The Rules!