Raking Bunkers
Sand bunkers are enough of a hazard without the bad lies caused by an unraked surface, so here's some quick tips for making sure that the next golfer who faces your predicament isn't additionally cursed by an ungroomed bunker.
  • Try to enter and exit the bunker from the point that's closest to your ball, but most level to the adjacent playing surface. Don't try to climb out by going up a steep bunker face (you can damage the lip of the bunker and displace too much sand).
  • Always rake the bunker immediately after your sand shot.
  • Be careful not to pull excess sand to (or over) the lip of the bunker. The best practice is to alternate between pulling sand toward you and pushing it back with the tines of the rake, thus making a relatively even surface without displacing too much sand.
  • According to the USGA, the guideline for placement of bunker rakes is "out and down." The rake should be placed outside the bunker, lying flat on the ground, and pointed in the direction of play (parallel to the likely flight of the ball). By the way, the USGA also reminds us that the proper term is "bunker," and never "trap." Good luck!
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