Rakes in the Traps

Last Thursday, as I was standing in a sand trap staring at the brand new rake laying beside the foot print in which my ball had come to rest, it occurred to me that many members may not be aware of the reasons why the club is asking players to leave rakes in the traps. Read More>>

Leaving the rakes in the traps is allowed under current USGA and RCGA rules and is consistent with the new Rules of Golf, which will come into effect January 1, 2019. The new rules on sand play are much more forgiving than those currently in effect. As usual, Niakwa is ahead of the curve.

Having the rakes in the trap allows members to easily find the rakes after hitting out of a trap. The rakes will no longer be sitting in long grass or hidden behind a knoll. This, hopefully, will increase the probability that an individual player will rake up after him or herself, and will have a positive effect on pace of play.

Each trap now has an adequate number of brand new, wide rakes. In the past, rakes were frequently broken by players driving over them in power carts (although one might question the need to drive a cart that close to a bunker). Occasionally the odd rake was also run over by maintenance equipment or a mower. Leaving the new rakes in the trap is a little like your parents keeping the plastic on the new furniture for a year or two. It keeps things in new condition for a while.

With the rakes in the traps, when the grounds crew is cutting the grass they will no longer have to get off their mowers and remove the rakes every time they cut the fairway and rough around the traps. This is offset, to some degree, by the need to remove the rakes when grooming the trap.

What if your ball comes to rest against a rake, or a rake interferes with your swing? A bunker rake is a “Movable Obstruction” which a player may remove. If the ball is resting solely on the rake, a player may lift the ball, remove the rake, and drop the ball as nearly as possible to the spot directly beneath where the ball lay on the rake (but not nearer the hole). Here’s a link to a video that explains the rules http://www.usga.org/videos/2015/12/23/rules-of-golf-explained–movable-obstructions-4673651628001.html

The other question that comes up is exactly where in the trap are the rakes to be left? Every trap has one or more points of entry. Rakes should be distributed at those points of entry. The handle of the rake should point to the edge of the bunker, with the head of the rake, teeth up, toward the middle of the trap. When a player enters the trap, he or she picks up the handle of the rake and walks toward his or her ball, laying the rake down before addressing the ball. The player then rakes the trap as he or she exits and leaves the rake in the same position, handle pointed to the edge. Curses uttered after mishitting a sand shot (or two) should be kept under one’s breath while raking the trap.

 Properly placed rakes

In my next blog entry I’ll be addressing Pace of Play and the elements that affect it. Niakwa Country Club is committed to maintaining a four hour pace of play. We’ll be addressing what the Club has done to fulfill that promise and how we can keep slow play to a minimum, to enhance everyone’s experience

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