Originally Posted by Golfingdad
I may or may not have chosen the right forum for this, but I trust if I chose wrong, somebody can help me correct it. Anyways ...
I've always thought of it to be an unanswerable dilemma. Rakes in or out of the bunkers??? Seems like half the courses insist in, and the other half insist out and I've come to the conclusion that nobody is right or wrong. I've never been able to decide which I prefer. Rakes out of the bunkers could knock your ball in one, but just as easily keep you out of one.
Today, I played a course for the first time that insisted that the rakes be stored in the bottom of the bunkers. My brother, who is a new member at this course, thinks that he read in their newsletter that its a USGA thing. I have NEVER heard of this as an option, but that doesn't mean its wrong.
Who else has heard of this?
Originally Posted by Golfingdad
Originally Posted by meenman
This question is like the civil war - half swear it should be in and the other half out. It goes by course policy - honestly I am on the *out* side, less chance for rules questions when it is out. Bottom line - it is up to the course to decide.
I was so happy a few years ago when my club put on the score card that all rakes should be left out - mostly because it stopped the fighting on the course over the issue.
I've always left them in ... But I'm not really adamant about it. But in the BOTTOM of the bunker?? That was a new one for me today.
The USGA recommends that they be left OUT of the bunker, and laid down parallel to the normal line of play for the hole to minimize the potential impact they might have on play. When I worked as a rules official for the Colorado Golf Association, one of our pre-round tasks was to tour the course. We watched for any areas which still might need to be marked as GUR, we verified that the holes were cut in the proper locations and that none were in unfair positions, and we inspected all bunkers, raking if necessary and locating the rakes per USGA recommendation, regardless of course policy (we had that right as the committee in charge of the competition).
If the course refuses to follow this recommendation, then the USGA says that the rakes should be placed in the bottom of the bunker, not around the edges where they would have a heavier impact on play. Here is a scenario for you to contemplate:
The rake is laid in the bunker, 5" from the lip nearest the tee. A player in a competition plays his shot and the ball comes to rest in the bunker against the rake. The bunker is well groomed so there is a minimum 3" vertical lip cut all the way around it. The rake is properly removed as a movable obstruction, and if the ball moved is it replaced with no penalty. The ball now lies just 4" from that lip, with the lip making a normal stroke unreasonable (if not impossible). Had the rake not been in the bunker, or if it was laid in the bottom of the bunker, the ball would have rolled to the bottom, or at least well past the bunker lip. Now the player has essentially been penalized for absolutely no good reason. He is going to have to play a stroke out sideways, and depending on which side of the fairway he is on, he may even have to play away from the fairway.
Now change up the scenario slightly and the rake is still in the same position but the sand has a significant slope leading into the bunker, so that when the rake is removed, the ball will not remain in place. There is no spot in the bunker which is not closer to the hole where the ball will remain at rest when placed. The player has no choice but to drop outside of the bunker under penalty of one stroke. Had the rake not been in that position, the ball would have rolled to the bottom of the slope.
In both of these scenarios, it's easy to see that improper placement of the rake was both unfair and inequitable to the player involved. While the rules don't always care about fairness, they are always concerned with equity. Properly locating the rakes is crucial in a competition. In casual play, you do what you think best, and what your conscience or your buddy tells you to, but in competition you are stuck between a rake and a hard place - no choice.
One other note - although placing the rakes in the bottom of the bunker may eliminate most of the above issues, it still may impact play in 2 other ways.
1) It may stop a ball which might otherwise have run through the bunker, and
2) It will potentially slow down the process of getting the rake and raking out the additional footprints made by having to go and fetch it from a different part of the bunker than your ball lies in.
So leave the rakes out when possible, and if not place them well away from the edges.