Bunker Etiquette

It is the golfer’s responsibility to rake after hitting into a bunker.

Superintendents work hard to provide good bunker playability and presentation, and they are responsible for the general daily maintenance of the bunkers (regular inspection and assessment, mowing around/edging, addressing drainage concerns, topdressing, preventing contamination, managing weeds and vegetation, etc.)

Once they have completed daily bunker maintenance it’s in our hands as golfers to keep bunkers looking and playing great. Doing a good job raking bunkers is an easy way to maintain good playing conditions for everyone and it’s a great way to demonstrate care for the course. 

Below are the golfer responsibilities for bunker play:

  1. Bring the rake with you as you enter the bunker. This will save you time and unnecessary mess by eliminating an extra trip across the sand to grab the rake after you hit your shot.
  2. Rake with a purpose! Rake the bunker where you have walked and played a shot from. Don’t just drag the rake behind you as you leave the sand and call it good. First, use the flat back side of the rake to fill in any deep spots. Then turn the rake over and rake by pushing the sand away from you to leave a flat surface for the next golfer. Pulling sand towards you will create ridges, lines and an uneven playing surface as you rake. You know you’ve done the job right when it’s hard to tell that you were ever there.
  3. Enter and exit from the low side: Every bunker has a high side and a low side. You should always enter a bunker from the low side and follow the same path out of the hazard. Traversing the steeper side of a bunker creates deeper footprints and causes the sand to shift and collapse, which can be dangerous to the golfer, as well as creating playability issues and a time-consuming repair job for the maintenance team. It can also cause damage to the grass on the steeper terrain.
  4. Knock the sand off your shoes. As you are exiting the bunker, use your club to knock any sand off the bottom of your shoes. This is especially important following greenside bunker shots. Walking across the green after hitting a bunker shot can leave sandy footprints that cause playability issues for other golfers and may even damage expensive maintenance equipment.
  5. Place your rake in the location preferred by the course. All golf courses vary on preferred rake placement. Overland Park Golf asks that you leave the rakes half-in/half-out of the bunker so the next golfer can locate them easier. Try to be sure it is spread out from other rakes and place it as far from the fairway or the green as possible, with the handle parallel to the line of play to further minimize the risk of interference.

If we all follow these 5 steps, we can leave the bunker better than we found it and make for a more pleasant golf course experience for everyone.