Q: Alice and Martha are playing No. 5 on their home course. Martha’s ball comes to rest short of the green. There is a small, shallow bunker between her ball and the green. Martha wants to putt her ball through the bunker. She believes this is the best shot since the bunker is shallow and the hole is near the bunker. Martha knows that the superintendent recently put new sand in all of the bunkers, so she decides to test the condition of the sand before hitting. Can she do this?
A: Yes. The rules do not prohibit a player from testing the condition of a hazard except when their ball lies in or touches the hazard. However, if such testing improves the line of play, the player would be in breach of Rule 13-2. An example of a prohibited action would be if Martha were to use the rake to test the sand and smooth the area she intended to putt through.
As always, have fun playing and practicing the game of golf. Email me at email@example.com with questions.
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