May 26, 2015
During a round, my friend hit his ball towards a greenside bunker. His ball came to rest against a rake. Regardless of what he decided to do - simply move the rake, or mark his ball first and then replace his ball on the original spot, the ball was going to roll into the bunker. I suggested that he remove the rake and play the ball from where it ended up. He agreed and ended up playing the bunker shot. Did I advise him correctly?
The rake is a moveable obstruction in this case and so Rule 24-1a takes effect and says that the obstruction (rake) may be moved. If the ball moves after doing so, it must be replaced. If the ball continues to move after it has been replaced, you must find a spot no nearer the hole and not in a hazard where the ball will come to rest (see rule 20-3d). So, under the rules your friend would not have to play from the bunker and you probably owe him a drink.
Care needs to be taken as Rule 8 precludes the giving of advice. Advice is defined as any counsel or suggestion that could influence a player in determining his play, the choice of club, or the method of making a stroke. Giving or requesting advice from anyone other than your caddie, partner, or partner's caddie incurs a two stroke penalty.
Happy golfing and remember the Rules Matter.