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?? 

Answer to question 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 12-2b when you touch the ground in the bunker with your club before making your stroke. General penalty of 2 strokes! But ... isn't my back swing part of the stroke?

No, definitions tell us that "a stroke is the forward movement of your club made to strike the ball..."

Before making a stroke at your ball in a bunker, you must not:

  • touch the sand in the bunker with your club:
      >> in the area right in front of or right behind your ball (except as allowed in fairly searching for your ball or in removing a loose impediment or movable obstruction)
      >> In making a practice swing, or
      >> In making your backswing for a stroke
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!

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

Well, physically I guess so. AND as far as the Rules of Golf go, Rule 12-2b(2) exception does allow you to lean on a club to rest, stay balanced or prevent a fall

BUT, you will get the general penalty "if your actions in touching the sand improve the conditions affecting your stroke".

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