How To Properly Rake a Bunker

How To Properly Rake a Bunker

Golf is a game of skill and methodical practice. It isn’t an easy sport, though it is a fun one. So many people enjoy the sport, but many don’t know the proper etiquette that must be practiced when playing the game. One part of this etiquette involves raking the bunker.

Everyone who plays golf knows how trying the bunker can be. Trying to get the ball to go where you want it from hitting it out of a large plot of sand is no easy feat. Now, imagine trying to do this from a bunker that hasn’t been raked. Now that is challenging and can be rather frustrating for the person attempting to do it. Especially knowing that someone else left the bunker that way.

Playing in the bunker is hard work. It takes a skilled golfer to get the ball to go where he/she wants it to go when hitting it out of the sand. So let’s not make it harder on them, or ourselves. By leaving the bunker with a nice, even surface, we aren’t only doing others a favor, but we are doing ourselves a favor as well. 

When playing golf, if your ball lands in the bunker and you must shoot from there, good etiquette requires you to leave the bunker looking like it did before you visited it. This involves raking it back into good condition. But what is the correct way to do this? In this article, we will look at how to properly rake a bunker step by step.

  1. Find the best entry and exit points. By doing this, you will minimize the amount of raking that’s needed. By finding the lowest point around the edge of the bunker that is convenient to your golf ball, you will minimize deeper impressions in the bunker that would be created from coming off of a higher point, as well as minimizing the amount of footprints you will need to rake as well. The less you mark up the bunker, the better. Also, the less you have to rake up, the faster you can move on with your game and forget about the bunker altogether. Playing from the bunker can be hard work. That is why we want to make it easy on ourselves and on other players.
  2. Make sure you enter the bunker with the rake in hand. After you have found the best spot to enter the bunker, go on in! But make sure that you bring the rake with you before you go in. When you already have the rake with you, you are speeding up the process and cutting out an entire step when you don’t have to go back out for the rake. Some people believe that it is not allowed to take the rake with you for your shot, but this is not true. You are more than welcome, and even encouraged, to bring the rake. However, be careful that the rake does not touch the ground at any point until you put it down before your shot. This will minimize the area you must rake after you have taken your shot and gotten your ball out of the bunker.
  3. Take your shot. Drop the rake behind you before taking your stance. Then, play your shot. You should drop the rake at a convenient spot that is within reaching distance from where you will take your shot. Otherwise, when retrieving the rake after your shot, you’ll simply disturb more area that will need to be attended to, and no one wants more work to do. So do yourself a favor and place the rake in a position that is easily reachable from where you are standing. Then you won’t have to walk around and tredge up more footprints in the sand to rake up afterward.
  4. Smoother over the sand with the rake as you back out of the bunker. By going backwards, you are eliminating footprints as you go. Begin by raking over the area where there are signs of play from the ball and your shot. As you move backwards towards the edge of the bunker, pull the rake towards you in a straight line. Be careful here, as you don’t want to pull too much sand towards you. Your goal here is to restore an even surface in the bunker. If you accidentally pull too much sand, push the rake away from you a bit to even out the surface. The whole time you are smoothing out the surface, be sure you are moving out towards the edge of the bunker, erasing any footsteps you may leave behind.
  5. Step out of the bunker and finish raking. Once you have gotten to the edge of the bunker, step back onto the grass and rake the last small area where your footprints were left. Once you have finished, place the rake outside the bunker, away from the hole, parallel to the line of play. Because some courses have a different placement for the rake, you should check beforehand or return the rake to its original spot. You can check your scorecard or the rules that are posted in the Pro Shop.

Knowing the proper way to rake a bunker is incredibly important. No one wants to end up with their ball in the bunker, but it happens. This is why it is important to leave the bunker as smooth, if not smoother than when you entered it. Golfer’s etiquette is important to know and abide by during the playing of this game, as you would want others to have the same courtesy for you. 

Always review the rules before getting out onto the green and never leave the bunker with holes and marks from your strokes. If you were to enter a bunker that was left with footprints and ball marks, would you be happy to play? Probably not. So have the same courtesy for others. Rake the bunker before moving on, and do so correctly. Follow these five steps listed above and everyone will have a nice, smooth game of golf.  

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