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Correct Bunker Maintenance, The Australian Way

I was poking around YouTube for a video and stumbled on this "Correct Bunker Maintenance" instructional from Kingston Heath Director of Golf Justin Burrage and Course Superintendent Hayden Mead.

Besides showing us how the Australian-style of raking looks and should be maintained by the golfer, I just never get tired of looking at those bunkers! Plus, with a number of American courses adopting the method, this video might be useful.

And don't forget that Kingston hosts the Australian Masters this November 15-18, though I'm not sure if Golf Channel will be showing the best piece of golf architecture to host a professional tournament in 2012.

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Reader Comments (11)

It would be great for one trial tournament to see the pros play with bunkers prepared to Peter Thompson's recipe- unraked.
Geoff - Kingston Heath is indeed awesome (and deserving of a higher world ranking than in already has). But, even though I'm Australian, I'd have to say that Royal Portrush (Irish Open) is just as good :-)
09.19.2012 | Unregistered CommenterIanB

Under the Thomson proposal are the players supposed to fix their mess with their feet and club - or just walk in and walk out?

The first would be fine by me - but the second would be ridiculous. The last group out would have a nightmare.
09.19.2012 | Unregistered CommenterMike Clayton
I don't know if Mr Thomson gave a full specification but I guess he meant don't ever rake bunkers- ever. So it's a nightmare for the first and every other group out. So called "waste areas" aren't raked.
Bunkers are far too easy for the pros- easier than the rough- because they get a reliable lie. Getting up and down from a bunker should be quite hard to do (say 50:50) because the approach shot missed the green.
"Greens in regulation" is not rewarded enough. Geoff agreed with this statement in his recent story on the winner of the British Open's 64!
Most rake handles I encounter are too long to use the side to side action recommended.
At my muni the rakes should be shovels.
09.19.2012 | Unregistered CommenterAverage Golfer
The USGA, in its infinite wisdom, recommends that the rakes be placed outside the bunkers and out of the direct line of play. Which is wonderful when you have caddies or officials everywhere, but impractical (the placement) during everyday play.
09.19.2012 | Unregistered Commentergordon
If we prepped our bunkers like that here in the CZ (imo hard flat sand is the best!) then all the average golfers here would start putting out of the sand every time because to them a bunker is supposed to have tons of sand to the point your shoes sink in and the poor maintenance crew actually get the old Sand-Pro stuck 3 times every 9 holes (not kidding at all)

....but the average hdcp around here is 44, so I can't imagine that the average skill of a greenskeeper round these parts would be much different.

One of the local courses decided to build some bunkers on some side-slopes (wtf for???!!)) and proceeded to not put in any drainage whatsoever...those small bunkers eventually where just staked as lateral hazards after 2 years because the genius greenskeeper basically built small ponds to "hold as much sand as possible" according to his own words....they should have taken a big pile of money and burned it in front of the members...same difference.
09.19.2012 | Unregistered Commenterjohnnnycz
Why are the rakes in Australia always of such low quality. A good rake shoud have some decent weight to it, which allows you to reach with one hand, be relatively wide, which dramatically reduces raking time, and have long handles (if they are laid in the direction of play, another 12 inches is not going to affect shots flying into the bunker very much. And the furrows should not look like toothpicks for heaven's sake.

There are rakes like this, I see them occastionally, but never on any of my trips to Australia (or GB&I) over the years.

Come on Kingston Heath, get these:

Not these:

Is this because of some sort of money-saving effort?
09.19.2012 | Unregistered CommenterAbu Dhabi Golfer
I'm going out and get a lottery ticket right now -- ADG made a post without denigrating Tiger in any way, shape or form!! Surely the lousy rakes in Oz are such low quality because funds are scarce in the wake of the $3 million appearance fee paid to Tiger?!? ;-)

For those of you that are in possession of a copy of TEED OFF -- by Dave Hill, there is a section of photos between pages 142 and 143 of the book. Turn to the 2nd page of photos and look at that bunker Dave is practicing out of. Can you imagine? As an aside, anyone know what course that was?

Mike Clayton, I believe Peter Thompson's proposal was just that, no maintenance whatsoever. It wouldn't make any difference between the first and last group because this plan would preclude any overnight maintenance as it would be brutal all the time. Bunkers would quickly become as alarming as water for professional players.

Bethpage is this way most of the time, bunkers are rarely raked. We kind of play a "local rule" within our group that allows for a rake and place except when a ball plugs. But I am aware of some guys that play it down no matter what in bunkers that may not have been raked for 2 weeks (by the staff, or fellow players) -- they avoid bunkers at all costs!

The problem I have with the raking technique shown in this video is that significant indentations in which the ball can settle will be left in the sand from where the rake initially enters the sand on each left-to-right cross-body pass.

In my opinion the best way to smooth a bunker is not a raking motion (toward you, or sideways), but a pushing motion (straight away from you). After smoothing the deep foorprints, and divot, pushing the sand toward the target, as you are leaving the bunker (assumes you entered on far side from target) will leave an entirely smooth surface with no indentations at all. And if you get really good at it you can leave a surface that has zero tine marks/furrows as well (the last little bit of sand moving toward the target will cover the marks where the rake entered the sand on your previous push/stroke). And most importantly, using this technique around the edge of the bunkers will never pull sand out of the bunkers of change the boundary of the edge of the bunker -- always push sand back into the bunker around the edges, never pull sand toward the edges or out of the bunker. In reality, you'll just be undoing some of sand removal created by dummies steam shoveling sand out of the bunkers as they exit!
09.19.2012 | Unregistered CommenterDel the Funk
Am I the only one who thinks it is silly to throw the rake back into the middle of the bunker such that it cannot be reached without getting in the bunker? I suppose in some bunkers that might make sense.

This means that unless your ball happens to land near the rake you either:
A) go into the bunker and walk to the rake, pick it up and rake your way back to your ball or go back and do more raking as you leave the bunker
B) in the case of a large bunker, go into bunker near the rake, rake yourself back out, walk around closer to your ball and proceed as normal

I don't really get that. Seems like it is going to slow things down and lead to even more poor raking.
09.19.2012 | Unregistered Commenterreef

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