While many movable obstructions are relatively rarely encountered on the course, there is one that is ever-present at any golf club with bunkers (so most courses then) – the rake.
While debate will continue to rage as to where best to leave the rake after you have used it – with consensus unlikely to ever be reached – occasionally you will have to know what to do when you find your ball resting against a rake, as is the case in this video from our Rules of Golf series produced in association with The R&A.
In another video, we look at what would happen if your ball were lying on a movable obstruction such as a towel. But what if it is resting against a movable obstruction such as a rake, and is almost certain to move if the obstruction is removed?
Do you play the ball from: 1) where it rolls to when you remove the rake; 2) where it was when you found it; or 3) a choice between the two locations?
The answer is: 2) where it was when you found it. Sometimes this is likely to be good news if the rake has prevented your ball rolling into the back edge of a bunker, and sometimes bad news if it leaves you perched awkwardly on a slope. But you don’t get a choice!
Before removing the rake, it’s wise to mark the position of the ball so you know where to replace it if it does move. The obvious next question is what do you do if you can’t get the ball to remain at rest in its original location – a fairly likely outcome if it moved when you removed the rake.
You’re not allowed to press it into the ground as that would be a breach of the Rules. Rather you should make two attempts to place it, and if it still rolls away, then place it at the closest spot possible – not nearer the hole – where it will remain at rest. The ball is then in play.
As we say, sometimes this will be a good result, sometimes less so, so it’s best simply to take the rough with the smooth and remember the lucky breaks as well as the bad ones!