Can I improve my line of play in golf? | Golf rules | USGA rules of golf rule 8.1| #short

In this video the golfer rakes the bunker in front of him before he plays his next shot. Is improving your line of play in golf allowed? It’s not and in this case the player would incur the general penalty which is two strokes.

Golf rules are tough to understand sometimes and this is another one of those tricky situations.

Purpose of Rule: Rule 8 covers a central principle of the game: “play the course as you find it.”

When the player’s ball comes to rest, he or she normally has to accept the conditions affecting the stroke and not improve them before playing the ball.

However, a player may take certain reasonable actions even if they improve those conditions, and there are limited circumstances where conditions may be restored without penalty after they have been improved or worsened.

We also sent this video into the USGA and asked for their ruling.

Here is their response:

Gerald Lemieux (USGA Rules of Golf)
Nov 19, 2021, 3:05 PM EST

Paul, thanks for your question.

I watched the video clip. The player in this case would get the general penalty for a breach of Rule 8.1a for improving his line of play.

While other Rules (particularly Rule 8.2) allow a player to avoid penalty when taking actions to care for the course, those Rules do no permit a player to take those actions in areas that are the Conditions Affecting the Stroke for the player. See that Definition in the Rules.

Thank you for your interest in the Rules of Golf, which can be found on the USGA’s web site at or with the Rules of Golf Mobile App for iOS and Android. Additionally, we invite you to learn more about the 2019 Rules of Golf, at

This response is for your personal information and may not be posted or disclosed by email or internet posting.


Jerry Lemieux

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    5 Replies to “Can I improve my line of play in golf? | Golf rules | USGA rules of golf rule 8.1| #short”

    1. I do this a lot but not a a cheat. I just get pissed off by how many people don’t bother raking the bunkers.

    2. Th3_Kryptik says:

      I don’t think it’s allowed but I’m not sure

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