My main recent motivation for starting this up again is to try and promote proper bunker etiquette. I was taught the game by my grandfather at a fairly young age. He was old school golf and course etiquette to him was just as important as hitting the ball. So when I see these common courtesies being neglected it drives me up the wall. Simple things like fixing your ball marks, replacing divots and proper bunker practices seem to be becoming a lost art.
It hasn't helped that Covid has forced us to remove the bunker rakes from the course for the time being, though even when they are out they don't see a lot of use. The main courtesy that you can do whether there are rakes out or not is to enter and exit from the low flatter sections of the bunker. DO NOT REPEL INTO AND OUT OF A BUNKER FROM THE HIGH STEEP FACES. The only time you should set foot in these areas is if your ball plugs into a steep face and you need to play it from there. If your ball settles in the flats of the bunker then there is no need to step onto a steep face. I understand that this means you may have to walk a little further, so be it.
Main reasons to stay off steep faces:
1. It creates very deep and disruptive footprints that are difficult to rake out, even when rakes are available.
2. These deep footprints are inconsiderate and disrespectful to your fellow players. By rule you are supposed to play the ball where it lies. If someone playing behind you hits their ball into your footprint then they have to hit the ball out of it. More often than not if the deep footprint wasn't there the ball would roll to the flats of the bunker instead of being trapped on the steep face making it easier to play. As you can see from the picture below, this can create a very difficult shot. I personally would take it out of the footprint, but a lot of people will not and attempt to hit it.
4. These steep faces are hand raked by staff and is labor intensive and time consuming. We run an extremely small crew, so having to rake these edges unnecessarily is a waste of time that could be spent on other tasks. Especially in the winter when I am the only one here outside maintaining the course.
I understand that there is only so much you can do with the rakes temporarily removed from the course, but by just doing this it will make a big difference. Please help do your part in keeping our great golf course in good shape. Little gestures go a long way.