One of the many raging questions in golf is a simple one: Should you leave the rake in or out of a bunker?
It's a question we're asked on a regular basis, and there's actually no official answer. There's no golf rule that dictates where the bunker rake should go. In fact, the Rules of Golf basically leave the decision up to the golf course or whoever is putting on a tournament.
There are good reasons to leave the rake in and out of the bunker, though there's the possibility either way that it could impact where a golf ball winds up. Either way, the rake could keep the ball out of the bunker or careen a ball into a bunker.
As an example, if a rake is placed outside on the far edge of a bunker and a ball hits past it and rolls back toward it, when the ball hits the rake, the rake is likely to stop it from going in the bunker. Under the Rules of Golf, the golfer can then play from outside the bunker. However, if the ball hits the bunker rake outside the bunker head on, the ball will likely go backwards into a bunker.
If you put the bunker rake in the bunker, there's a chance a ball headed for the bunker could hit the rake and careen out of the bunker. There's also the possibility that a ball rolling into a bunker could end up in the bunker and next to a rake inside of it, ultimately in a position that's worse than it would otherwise be were the rake not in the bunker.
In other words, it's a no-win situation.
Here's our recommendation: Leave the rake in a position where you think it's least likely to impact a golf shot. If a ball is likely to come into a bunker from the right, place it on the left side -- in or out of the bunker. If the bunker is in front of a green at the bottom of a hill, put the rake at the far end of the bunker outside of it, making it unlikely to impact play.
Use your discretion. Just don't throw it in the middle of a bunker or a world away outside of it.
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