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From the Clubhouse: Have we gone soft on bunkers?

Should bunkers be a true hazard? Should we be guaranteed a consistent lie? The From the Clubhouse team weren’t hugely impressed with the approach at The Open

 

Did you feel sorry for the stars flailing around in Hoylake’s bunkers at The Open? No, the From the Clubhouse team of Tom Irwin and Steve Carroll didn’t either.

For a brief period on Thursday, the sand was truly a hazard again in professional golf. For those of us at our clubs, used to hacking about and struggling to get out, it was magical.

Then the R&A changed the way they were raked, the players stopped moaning, and normality returned. But should it? Steve and Tom discuss the golf bunker, whether jeopardy is a big part of the risk of going into one, and whether the expectation of a consistent roll and a well-raked surface is what golf should be all about.

It’ll get some of your heckles up and, while we’re on the subject of controversy, Steve is advocating a change to the penalty for stroke-and-distance that is bound to start a debate. So strap in and get listening!

From the Clubhouse is a National Club Golfer podcast produced in association with TaylorMade Golf

Now listen to the From the Clubhouse podcast

amateurs in us open

What do you think? Has a golf bunker become too vanilla? And should we think about tinkering with stroke and distance? Let us know with a tweet.

Steve Carroll

Steve Carroll

A journalist for 25 years, Steve has been immersed in club golf for almost as long. A former club captain, he has passed the Level 3 Rules of Golf exam with distinction having attended the R&A's prestigious Tournament Administrators and Referees Seminar.

Steve has officiated at a host of high-profile tournaments, including Open Regional Qualifying, PGA Fourball Championship, English Men's Senior Amateur, and the North of England Amateur Championship. In 2023, he made his international debut as part of the team that refereed England vs Switzerland U16 girls.

A part of NCG's Top 100s panel, Steve has a particular love of links golf and is frantically trying to restore his single-figure handicap. He currently floats at around 11.

Steve plays at Close House, in Newcastle, and York GC, where he is a member of the club's matches and competitions committee and referees the annual 36-hole scratch York Rose Bowl.

Having studied history at Newcastle University, he became a journalist having passed his NTCJ exams at Darlington College of Technology.

What's in Steve's bag: TaylorMade Stealth 2 driver, 3-wood, and hybrids; TaylorMade Stealth 2 irons; TaylorMade Hi-Toe, Ping ChipR, Sik Putter.

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