BUNKER-TO-BUNKER… Inside Golf writers have their say!

By Peter Owen

FOR me, the three great legacies of Covid are discovering the benefits of working from home, the disappearance of cash from the marketplace, and being able to choose your own lie in a bunker.

I know bunkers are hazards; I know they should be avoided; I know I should practice the shot more; and I know life wasn’t meant to be easy.

But having your ball land in a foot mark or a divot – the result of an earlier golfer’s utter negligence – is just unfair. We berate such thoughtless behaviour, and we implore golfers to have enough consideration to rake the bunker after they’ve played their shot. 

Why? Presumably so that the surface is smooth and playable for the next bunny whose ball lands in the sand.

But why bother? Why not leave it in any old condition, and simply allow golfers to place the ball to their liking on the sand.

It’s a win-win situation, surely. The first golfer through doesn’t have to go to the trouble of raking the bunker, and the next player is spared the frustration of finding a ball in an utterly unplayable and unfair lie.

Golf’s a tough enough game – and bunkers are hard enough to get out of without forcing upon a player a needless, and thoroughly avoidable, injustice. I reckon, too, that divots on the fairway should be treated as GUR because, hey, they represent the absolute definition of the term. But that’s not an argument I’m likely to win anytime soon.

This bunker thing, though, is a no-brainer. Covid’s got to be good for something.


By Michael Court

DISCARDING rakes? What bunkum! Sure, if people even flattened out their footprints after playing from a bunker, maybe this wouldn’t even be an issue.

And as my course super repeatedly informs me, “it’s a hazard, remember, You shouldn’t be in there in the first place”.

Wrong ‘Sully’ … I didn’t go in there on purpose and if I could play a round of golf staying out of bunkers, I’d be over there hooting and hollering with Cameron Smith and co on the US Tour.

The problem is, golfers are a selfish bunch and once they’ve finished in a bunker, they are usually quite content to leave it in a poor state for the ‘next bloke’ to worry about.

As a matter of fact, I’m still a bit dirty on the late, great Peter Thomson for planting bunkers in the middle of the fairway on the 14th at Long Reef and the 13th at Camden Lakeside.

Why? Because the big hitters simply drive over the top of them and as if they don’t have enough advantage over us hackers, they get to smile quietly to themselves when one of my best drives (or worse still, my second shot) just trickles into the front of the bunker, leaving an impossible shot to the green.

Not fair, sorry!

Isn’t the idea of this game to make it fun and enjoyable for everyone? 

Getting stuck in somebody’s footprint in a bunker and having no shot at even getting it on the green is NOT my idea of fun.

Save the rakes, I say.


By Michael Davis

MOST clubs allow players to lift and place their ball in bunkers? So, do we really need to go back to raking traps?

Slow play is killing golf all around the world – from the elite professional tours to the monthly club medal. Anything that speeds up the pace of play, in my view, is a bonus. Leave aside the fact that some are more meticulous than others about leaving the bunker as they would like to find it. So let’s only rake the bunkers at the start of the day’s play. 

After all, bunkers are hazards. Having played an errant shot, take your medicine. There is no need to ‘reward’ poor play by making sure the wayward golfer is presented with pristine conditions because his ball has finished in the sand.

The late Peter Thomson and the revered (and still teaching) Metropolitan professional, Brian Twite, have long been advocates of going even further and playing the ball as it lies in a bunker. 

Among other things, both agreed it would have a huge influence on the pace of play. It would help to remove the ‘tortoises’ renowned for interrupting the rhythm of the field during a round of golf. Rakes disappeared during a series of tweaks under Covid rules. They have since re-appeared at most clubs.

It would make far more sense for clubs to put all the rakes back in the shed and leave them there. It would be a surprise if many golfers took serious umbrage. Although the ‘tortoises’ might be offended because they have been deprived of another reason to focus on themselves without regard for anyone else.


By Larry Canning

RAKES and bunkers have been a staple diet of deep-fried frustration for me since my first rake induced an unplayable lie in a pro-am during the halcyon days of the 1980s. 

When I calculated how much cash some thoughtless dude had cost me that day, I began my lifelong mission to educate the golf industry on rake deployment.

This leaves me in what would seem to be a tap-in away from agreeing with “no rakes and preferred lies in bunkers” given the added advantage of helping speed up our beloved game – one of the two most talked about issues in golf. 

But to borrow a famous Aussie saying from an equally famous Aussie movie, “It’s the vibe of the thing”. The Royal and Ancient refer to bunkers as hazards and by this definition they should be at the very least, a hindrance.

Here’s the conundrum. 

Better players generally know how to play bunker shots with the only potential issue being something less than a perfect lie. 

The punters who constitute about 80 per cent of the golfing population, struggle because of bad methods and a preferred lie would have very little effect.

No readers, we should leave rakes in the CENTRE of bunkers and begin a national campaign on bunker play education. 

With some clever lobbying to Scott Morrison, who could do with some extra votes, apply for a government grant for “average player bunker recovery assistance”. 


What do you think? Email comments to david@insidegolf.com.au

About Inside Golf

Australia's Golf News Leader, Inside Golf gives you in-depth coverage of Australian golf news, golf events, golf travel and holiday destinations, Australian and international golf course reviews, the hottest new golf gear and tips and drills to improve your golf game. Written by award-winning journalists, Inside Golf also features interviews with Australia's top professional golfers, the game's rising stars, industry leaders and golf equipment manufacturers. You can even win great golf prizes and equipment. It’s all in Inside Golf. FREE at Australian golf courses, driving ranges and golf retailers across Australia.

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