Bunker Rakes at TPC Tampa Bay

Last year as most of you know, we did a massive bunker restoration project on the property. I personally find bunkers in the game of golf an interesting lot. Golfers seem to be very subjective about bunkers and how they should play and look. There is also an expectation of consistency and maintenance. As you can see by the definition to the left, it is a hazard. According to the Rules of Golf, there are 2 types of hazards in the game of golf, water hazards and bunkers. The basic rules are the same, no grounding of your club, no moving of loose impediments, no testing the conditions, but when you hit the ball into a water hazard the emotional experience is that you’ve hit the ball into an area that was never meant to be hit into and unless you have scuba gear and a minor death wish that ball is now being entertained by a distant relative of the dinosaur. What makes bunkers attention-grabbing is that it feels that they are “in play” because you are still playing the same ball you started the hole and this is just a hurdle in your sprint to even par and you are Edwin Moses! There are even player responsibilities in bunkers which are hazards! “Before leaving a bunker, players should carefully smooth over all holes and footprints made by them and nearby made by others” is an excerpt of the Etiquette section of the Rules of Golf. In raking bunkers, the question constantly arises, “should rakes left in or out of the bunker?” The USGA leaves this decision up to the individual properties. Here at TPC Tampa Bay, we would like for the rakes to be left in the bunkers, with the handle close to the edge and the comb on a relatively flat area. The reason we would like to see the rakes left in the bunker is twofold, one because it seems that our rakes keep getting run over by golf carts or stepped on and they are splintering on the shaft. We are also hoping by leaving them in the bunker, they are easier to identify so that when you are finished playing the shot the you can rake after yourself. You are allowed to bring the rake with you into the bunker and put it next to you as you hit your shot. There are a couple of rules issues that can arise in the case of a ball coming to rest on a rake or next to a rake! The rake is defined as a movable obstruction. Should your golf ball rest against or on a rake, you are entitled to relief in accordance to Rule 24-1. Should the ball move when the obstruction is moved, it must be replaced. If you have read this entire post, you were not the intended subject it was written for that person sitting in the cart next to you!



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