The following is taken from the Golf Course Superintendents Association website GCSAA.ORG.
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!
Repairing ball marks
Ball marks, those indentations caused when a ball lands sharply on a soft green, have been ruining good putts since the days of Old Tom Morris. Unrepaired ball marks take two to three weeks to properly heal, leaving behind unsightly, uneven putting surfaces. On the other hand, a repaired ball mark only takes half that time to heal.
Beginner or pro, it is your responsibility as a golfer to fix your own marks. If you’re truly a steward of the game, you’ll fix any others you see while your partners are putting. There’s really not much to it, but there are a few guidelines you should follow when making these repairs.
The right way to fix a ballmark
Use a pronged ball mark repair tool, knife, key or tee.
Insert it at the edges of the mark, not the middle of the depression.
Bring the edges together with a gentle twisting motion, but don’t lift the center. Try not to tear the grass.
Smooth the surface with a club or your foot. You’re done when it’s a surface you would want to putt over.
If you play golf, you create divots — it’s part of the game. However, if you create divots, you should also repair them — that’s part of the etiquette of the game. Repairing your divots ensures that the golfers who follow you have the same level playing surface you had when you started your round.
A number of different methods are used to repair divots, and each of them is designed to make sure that the type of grass growing around the divot fills in as quickly as possible.
On courses whose tees and fairways feature actively growing bermuda grass, you will often be asked not to replace the divot, but rather to fill the hole with sand the course provides. In this situation, fill the divot and then tamp down the sand so it is level with the surrounding area.
At some courses in the South where dormant bermuda grasses are overseeded, you may be asked to fill the divot with a sand/seed mixture. Again, it is important to tamp the sand down so the seed will germinate.