Is placing or dropping my clubs in a bunker prior to making my stroke from the hazard against the rules?
You can place your entire bag in the bunker if you want, as long as you do not ground your club, test the conditions of the hazard or improve your lie (Rule 13-4, exception 1). Testing the conditions would consist of using a club to determine the texture, dampness or weight of the sand. In other words, you can't improve your chances of getting the ball out of the bunker. For you clumsy types, the exception also states: "...there is no penalty if the player (a) touches the ground in any hazard...as a result of or to prevent falling, in removing an obstruction, in measuring or in retrieving, lifting, placing or replacing a ball under any Rule or (b) places [her] clubs in a hazard."
Work Hard, Play Hard: Finals Season
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