Should bunker rakes be left in or out of the hazard? The Niggle team discuss…
Steve Carroll: It seems to be different at every course you go to. At mine, there’s a nice little holder for you to pop the rake onto as you leave it firmly outside.
Alex Perry: I like that. Little things like that make you know the club cares about these things.
Steve Carroll: At other courses, I’ve seen members chucking them back into the centre of the sand and witnessed club officials become visibly upset with golfers who fail to remove them from the edge of the trap. For the record, I’m a leaver rather than a remainer – I’m absolutely garbage in bunkers and hope the rake is going to come to my rescue. I’ll always take the chance of a tricky downhill lie from the edge rather than trying to splash it of out the sand.
Craig Middleton: I’m a leaver too. Rakes should be completely out of the way. If your ball is rolling into a bunker and hits the rake, who’s to say that that won’t help or hinder your lie. Your ball could be about to roll into the centre of the trap and you’d be left with a simple shot, with a nice clean lie. What if it hits the rake and ends up on a downhill lie with one foot out of the bunker, all because of the rakes positioning?
Dan Murphy: Rakes should be left in bunkers. Bunkers are hazards and a rake should not stop a ball from entering the hazard. If the ball finishes up in an awkward spot then so be it – you have paid the price for hitting into a bunker.
Georgina Simpson: On tour, the rule is to leave them outside so that everyone has an equal chance of an undisturbed lie in the bunker.
Alex Perry: There must be some clever way to keep rakes completely out of the way?
Tom Lenton: I have been to a few courses where rakes have a clever little spike on the end. You stab it into the ground outside the bunker so they are stood up. Visually, you don’t notice them from afar but makes it much easier to find the nearest rake when you are about to play from a bunker. There is nothing worse than walking miles round a big bunker to get a rake and then notice one hidden just yards from you.
Georgina Simpson: Or we could just get rid of rakes altogether. Bunkers are meant to be hazards, right?
Dan Murphy: I’d like to see an experiment where there are no rakes and bunkers are like beaches in that you take them as you find them. I suspect it would quickly put an end to pros and better players deliberately hitting into them on occasion.
Tom Irwin: Members at our club were asked to vote on whether they wanted rakes in or out, they were told statistics proved lower scores were possible with rakes out. The motion was passed, and members were horrified to find that their scores were just the same despite the vote…
Alex Perry: Brilliant.