Are you allowed to take a second stance in a greenside bunker?

Published 14/02/2011 07:20:00

Bill takes his stance in a greenside bunker, digging his feet into the sand. He then changes his mind about the type of shot to play and walks out of the bunker to change clubs. He returns to his ball, smooths out the original footprints, takes a new stance, and plays the shot.

Is this allowed?

No. Bill is penalized two strokes in stroke play or loss of hole in match play for testing the condition of the hazard (Rule 13-4a). The Rules allow a player to place his feet firmly in taking a stance; in a bunker, this means it is all right to dig into the sand with your feet. But if his actions go beyond those necessary to take a stance in a bunker, and might help him determine the firmness of the sand, a player is subject to being penalized.

A player is allowed to take his stance in a bunker more than once. Bill would have been allowed to come back and take a new stance by placing his feet in the footprints he had already made, or by digging his feet in at a slightly different place without smoothing the first set of footprints.

Now What If?

Bill's ball is in a greenside bunker. He goes into the bunker without a club, digs into the sand with his feet, and simulates a stroke. He then gets a club, returns, digs in with his feet again at the same place, and plays his shot.

Is this allowed?

If Bill went through this exercise in order to get a "feel" for the shot, and not to test the condition of the bunker, there is no penalty. When Bill first dug his feet into the sand, he met the definition of taking a stance, which is "placing his feet in position for and preparatory to making a stroke." However, a player is penalized if he digs in with his feet and simulates a stroke in a part of the bunker away from his ball


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