The first question that needs answering is why should bunker sand be cleaned? Why should a bunker rake and all the associated labor and costs be utilized? After all a sand bunker is considered a hazard, shouldn’t a stray hit result in a penalty?
The answer is “not necessarily”. Many times golf courses have bunkers added to modify the players shots, after all without modification features, golf courses would be pretty boring to play. A bunker can be placed if the ball is hit too long, too short, or simply off line.
But they shouldn’t discourage players from engaging in superior play or strategy. So if a player decides to attempt a shot and carry it over a bunker and it doesn’t make it, landing in the bunker is the result. At this point having a bunker that is playable will either encourage play by allowing a different skill set to come into play, or discourage play by introducing a lie or contamination that prevents a clean exit.
This is not the goal of a bunker, otherwise it may as well be a lake or pond, an automatic stroke penalty. A sand bunker that is thoughtfully groomed with a bunker rake makes through play possible.
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