Rakes and Bunkers

Valerie and Frank,
Thanks for all you two are doing for our game. I enjoy what you say every week.

You have been talking about wearing a glove when you are putting. I don’t think it makes much difference even though most PGA Tour pros do seem to take their gloves off when putting. I really should not have an opinion as I don’t wear a glove when playing golf and certainly don’t put one on for putting.

I do have an opinion on rakes left outside bunkers. Is there a recommended procedure regarding where a rake should be left? I would be interested in your views.
Naples, Florida

Thanks for the kind words and we are pleased that you enjoy our weekly comments and information.

I too have an opinion about rakes.

There is no specific policy about where to leave them. I take my lead from those who have been involved in the game for hundreds of years.

In St Andrews, the rakes are left leaning on the edge of the bunker, which is more likely to allow an errant shot to roll into a bunker, rather than be stopped by a rake.

Rakes are also left where the golfer is most likely to enter the bunker, in most cases this is leaning against the back – the tee side not the green side — of the bunker.

This is I believe reasonable procedure, as it has some logical basis.

Michael, I also believe that the removing of every second tine in a rake – as Jack did at Muirfield Village — is a good idea and makes the bunker more of a hazard rather than a smooth surface which poses little penalty for the Tour professionals.

However for us mortals, all golfers should be considerate of others and utilize the rakes provided when exiting the bunker, leaving the surface smooth for those of us unfortunate enough to follow in their footsteps.

Let us know what you think about rakes by sharing your views below.


14 thoughts on “Rakes and Bunkers

  1. The R & A guidelines would seem to be the best recommendaion for avoiding any possible interference with play.
    But the placement of rakes is a minor issue compared with the failure of players to even bother to use them.

  2. I played at my home club for 36 years before moving to another state. The club’s local rule was – and it was on stickers on the rakes – “Please Leave Rakes INSIDE the Bunker.” I’ve played several courses around the USA and that seemed to be the local club rule, leave the rake inside the bunker. I have no challenge with leaving the rake outside the bunker, furthest point away from the tee. We just need to get everybody on the same page. That includes having each golfer actually rake out where they’ve been in the bunker.

  3. Desert Willows, a public course in Palm Desert, put the rakes in “holes” with a lid opened by pushing on it. Pretty handy and keeps the rakes out of the way.

  4. The R&A website gives some guidance on the positioning of rakes. Go to “Rules and Amateur Status – Guidance on running a competition – 8. Miscellaneous Matters – 7. Positioning of rakes”. The related photograph clearly shows the rake laying out of the bunker – this should be located at the top furthest point from the tee and on the outer side of the bunker to the line of play. Many golf clubs follow this R&A guideline. Green keepers should also be made aware of this, so that rakes can be placed properly once bunker maintenance and raking has been completed. Members and guests should be clearly instructed on the use and best positioning of the rakes to minimize hindrance to the line of flight/roll of the ball in, and around, bunkers.
    After 49 years golfing experience I continue to be amazed at how many golfers disregard golf etiquette and guidelines regarding raking of bunkers after playing their stroke and correct placement of rakes.

  5. I used to think rakes should be left in the bunker. However, because of decision 20-3d/2, I would rather have the rake outside the bunker. Basically, if the ball lies against the rake and in moving the rake the ball moves, you might have an issue. If the ball cannot be placed inside the bunker no closer to the hole, you’re going to end up having to take a penalty. This is especially true if the rake is place in the back of the bunker as suggested. The slope could cause the ball to role closer to the hole. And pressing down on the ball a bit to get it to stay is not an option.

    I do see any type of penalty issues arising if the rake is outside the bunker. (?)

  6. The only problem with leaving a rake in a bunker is your relief option if your ball is touching the rake and interfering with your next stroke. You must drop the ball when taking relief. That often results in a terrible, half-buried lie which is worse than if your ball just normally rolled into the bunker.

    • Bob, sorry but you dont lift your ball, you lift the rake. If the ball moves, you replace it with no penalty. You would lift the ball and drop it only if it came to rest on the rake, not touching the sand.

  7. I feel that rakes should be left in the bunkers. And since one should enter a bunker at the low point (to minimize damage while entering and exiting the bunker), I like leaving it there.

  8. The Decisions on the Rules of Golf has a recommendation under “miscellaneous” (right after Rule 34). The recommendation is to leave takes out.

  9. I think rakes should be left inside the bunker because a rake on the outside, could cause a golf ball to ricochet back into the bunker, giving a bit of bad luck to the golfer. If a ball hits a rake left inside the bunker, the ball will either stay in the bunker (which is where the golfer should be) or ricochet to the outside of the bunker, giving a bit of good luck to the golfer. I’m all for good luck!

  10. Rakes should be left in bunkers. Too often I see shots hit a rake and end up in the bunker. While we have all had the luck of a rake preventing a ball from entering a bunker I think we would give those up to avoid being in one because of a rake.

    Of course, to leave a rake in a bunker you had to have picked it up first! Fewer do these days, it seems, especially on public courses where I play. There is nothing worse than your ball being in a footprint in a bunker. That is cruel and unusual punishment!

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