Unless you have a caddie every time you play, you’re responsible for the state of each bunker you hit out of. Sure, you know you’re supposed to rake it. And hopefully you’re being kind to the golfers behind you by doing a good job leaving the sand smooth.
But what about the rake? What do you usually do with it after you’re done raking: Give it a little haphazard toss into the bunker? Lay it down in the grass outside of the beach?
Within Golf Digest headquarters, we couldn’t agree on a correct answer to this question. So, to figure out what you’re actually supposed to do with bunker rakes, we asked the USGA.
“The short answer is, there is no real right or wrong here,” says Thomas Pagel, Senior Director of Rules at the USGA.
Though there’s not a specific rule about where to put rakes, there is a decision that deals with the issue. It explains that the biggest concern is the rake getting in the way of play. So, don’t leave them inside the bunker along a steep bank, because it could catch someone’s ball. Don’t toss rakes into the middle of bunkers, because you’re just a jerk if you do that. And don’t lay them in front of bunkers, because it could stop someone’s ball from going into the bunker.
“The recommendation is to leave rakes outside of the bunker,” says Pagel. “We always place rakes outside of the bunker and parallel to the line of play for USGA Championships.”
Case (basically) closed.