Rules of Golf: ball resting against a rake

In this video we look at what you must do if you find your ball resting against a rake, and it then moves when you take the rake away...

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!

Jeremy Ellwood
Contributing Editor

Jeremy Ellwood has worked in the golf industry since 1993 and for Golf Monthly since 2002 when he started out as equipment editor. He is now a freelance journalist writing mainly for Golf Monthly across the whole spectrum from courses and Rules to equipment and even instruction despite his own somewhat iffy swing (he knows how to do it, but just can't do it himself). He also edits The Golf Club Secretary Newsletter, has authored or co-authored three books and written for a number of national papers including The Telegraph and The Independent. He is a senior panelist for Golf Monthly's Top 100 UK & Ireland Course Rankings and has played all of the Top 100 plus 89 of the Next 100. He has played well over 900 courses worldwide in 35 countries, but put him on a links course anywhere and he will be blissfully content. On his first trip to Abu Dhabi a decade ago he foolishly asked Paul Casey what sort of a record he had around the course there. "Well, I've won it twice if that's what you mean!" came the reply...

Jezz can be contacted via Twitter - @JezzEllwoodGolf


Jeremy is currently playing...

Driver: Ping G425 LST 10.5˚ (draw setting), Mitsubishi Tensei AV Orange 55 S shaft

3 wood: Ping G425 Max 15˚ (set to flat +1), Mitsubishi Tensei AV Orange 65 S shaft

Hybrid: Ping G425 17˚, Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro Orange 80 S shaft

Irons 3-PW: Ping i525, True Temper Dynamic Gold 105 R300 shafts

Wedges: Ping Glide 4.0 50˚ and 54˚, 12˚ bounce, True Temper Dynamic Gold 105 R300 shafts

Putter: Ping Fetch 2021 model, 33in shaft (set flat 2)

Ball: Varies but mostly now TaylorMade Tour Response