In Breach Of Rule 13-4a

Recently I received this question referring to Rule 13-4a, and thought it would be useful to share my reply with everyone:


“My ball is laying in the centre and to one end of a bunker.The bunker rake is the other end of the bunker. The sand in the middle of the bunker has been raked and is loose. The sand around the perimeter is flat and hard. I walk around the perimeter of the bunker to get the rake before I play my shot, turning the rake upside-down and dragging it behind me to cover my spike marks. I place the rake in the bunker approx two meters from my ball, then play my shot.

Is there any penalty? I was penalised two shots, but my argument is that I was not testing the sand and was nowhere near my ball. I would value your opinion.”


“You definitely incurred a two stroke penalty penalty. See Decision 13-4/0.5 “Examples of actions that would constitute testing the condition of the hazard in breach of Rule 13-4a include the following ………….. smoothing a bunker with a rake, a club or otherwise.”

You may pick up the rake and then place it alongside you in the bunker before taking your stroke out of the bunker, but as soon as you smoothed your footprints you incurred the penalty.

If you think that you were hard done by take a look at what happened to Stewart Cink recently, please scroll down to 4. Bunker Down for the full story.”

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Disclaimer: Whilst every attempt has been made to ensure the accuracy and reliability of this information on the Rules of Golf I am human and have been known to be wrong! Neither I, nor anyone connected with, shall be held responsible for any losses caused by reliance upon the accuracy or reliability of such information. Readers should refer to the full text of the rules and decisions as published in the official publications of the R&A and the USGA, The Rules of Golf 2008-2011 and Decisions on the Rules of Golf 2008-2009.

3 Responses to “In Breach Of Rule 13-4a”

  1. Barry Rhodes says:


    I am replying on behalf of Andy Brown and

    It is not a ‘rub of the green’ situation. Rule 18-5 states “If a ball in play and at rest is moved by another ball in motion after a stroke, the moved ball must be replaced.”

    For your interest, the definition of ‘rub of the green’ is that it occurs when a ball in motion is accidentally deflected or stopped by any outside agency. It does not therefore apply to a ball that is at rest.



  2. Stewart King says:

    Rules query!!!

    Two balls land in the same greenside bunker, one in the centre of the bunker and the other about six feet nearer the green and slightly to the right. The first player plays his shot and his ball hits the other players ball and it jumps out of the bunker to within eight feet of the pin while the ball played remains in the bunker. Should the ball on the green be replaced in the bunker under no penalty or can this be considered rub of the green?

  3. Derek Baty says:

    So does that mean that you have to leave all bunker on a hole that you visited, unraked untill after you putt out on that hole, and then go back and rake them.
    Sure going to make it a long round of golf!!!!!!!
    Glad I use a Buggy.

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