Where should you leave the rake?
You know this situation, you've hit it into the greenside or fairway bunker and as you approach, you see something you just loath... your ball against the rake on the up or down slope. Who do you blame? The idiot who left the rake there yes?
There is a simple way around this. Just leave the rake outside the bunker. This is the best thing to do at all golf courses if you ask me because there are only 3 places you can leave it. If you do not already know, the rake is a movable obstruction and if your ball is up against a rake, the best thing to do is mark the position of your ball, remove the rake, then replace your ball as close to the original position as you can without it rolling away. Don't push your ball into the sand, just place it and if it rolls, keep replacing it until it does not roll away. There is NO penalty! Here then are the options for placing the rake.
Option 1: The Edge - If you leave it near the edge of the bunker, you bring into play the chance your ball will lodge against the rake and you may have to play your ball from a very difficult uphill or downhill position. These can be some of the most difficult shots you can play from a bunker, so this method to me should never be allowed.
Option 2: The middle - A lot of people like this method, but it still has it's disadvantages. Softer sand tends to be in the middle of the bunker and the ball can get wedged a little under the rake and pushed into the sand. This will make it tougher to get the ball out and get a lot of spin on it. This is better than option 1, but still there is a better way.
Option 3: Outside - This is the best method in my opinion. Leaving the rake outside of the bunker can give a few very good advantages. It can stop your ball from going into the bunker at all. Yes this sometimes means that your ball stops in the bunker surround, but this is still better and easier than getting out of the sand for a lot of players. The other advantage is that you can get the rake easily. Nothing worse than having to walk around one side, into the bunker pick up the rake, get out, play your shot, then rake 2 different spots in the bunker before you walk away.
Option 3 is not only the best advantage to all the golfers on the golf course, but it is the fastest way to grab the rake after you play your shot. Even faster if you grab the rake before you play your shot and leave it close so after you play your shot, you can quickly rake and leave. It just makes perfect sense. Next time you are out on the course, rake the sand then leave the rake outside the bunker. And to all of you that don't rake bunkers, you should be ashamed of yourselves. Lift your game!!