RULE: Touching Sand in the Bunker

We all know you cannot ground your club in the bunker. But what about

     - touching the sand in the bunker with your club during the backswing??

     - leaning on your club resting in the sand while you wait to play?? 

1. When you are playing a shot in a bunker you accidentally touch the sand while making your backswing. What is the ruling?

Unfortunately you are in breach of Rule 13-4 when you touch the ground in the bunker with your club before making your stroke. Penalty 2 strokes! But ... isn't my backswing part of the stroke?

No, definitions tell us that "a stroke is the forward movement of the club made with the intention of striking at and moving the ball..."

Confused? I can understand that as the same Rule 13 tells us in section 2 that there is NO PENALTY if you touch the ground "in making a stroke or the backward movement of your club for a stroke and the stroke is made." BUT read on and the rule states Exception: ball in a hazard - see Rule 13-4. Damn.

I suppose it makes sense, because if your had a chance, you could sweep your club back and make a nice clean and even lie for your ball in the bunker, especially if it was in the position in the illustration! Now that would not be fair!

2. Your mate, whose ball lies in the hazard (or a bunker) casually leans on his club in the hazard while he waits for you to play your shot. Can he do that?

Well, physically I guess so. BUT as far as the Rules of Golf go, he is in breach of Rule 13-4b for touching the ground in the hazard (or bunker).  Penalty 2 strokes!Exception to Rule 13-4 doesn't apply!

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