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James Edwards

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Bunkers are Hazards!......   arent they???
« on: February 12, 2003, 07:38:47 AM »
Why are bunkers raked for professional golf tournaments?   ???

I don't like the fact that pro's are now trying to hit certain greenside bunkers in order to have easier shots and taking on Par 5's in 2, being content with getting it in the frontal bunkers.

I think something is not right about this strategy......
 >:(

I think we should leave the sand alone, as an experiment for the professional, once again creating the correct definition of 'The Bunker' as 'A Hazard'.  Water has the same definition I believe.  I get the impression, professionals are not afraid of the bunker anymore.

I'm sure we have all heard of the pro's (for want of a better expression) 'bitching' about the depths of sand and the how shiny the sand is and whether the sand was off our favourite beach or whether it was imported from outer mongolia or not!!

Just stop it guys and start playing golf and start showing us a bit of skill which you're so richly blessed with..

Surely this proposal to golf course set up, will mean that a bad shot by the professional, will suddenly have a meaning, and they won't be guaranteed a perfect lie and a resulting straight forward bunker shot.

If you pin close to a bunker which is not raked, then surely more emphasis will be put on the quality of approach - the correct shot to play - and the professional will have to think once more...  If they do take the shot on, and get it tight, then the plaudits will be far higher than before.

If they do indeed go in the bunker, they haven't lost a stroke have they, like a water hazard.  They have a second chance to show their prowess and imagination!

Let me know whether I'm a sad ex professional trying to get my own back for not making it!

....or indeed whether you agree.

« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
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A_Clay_Man

Re: Bunkers are Hazards!...... arent they???
« Reply #1 on: February 12, 2003, 07:43:22 AM »
The first problem is in the rules, a bunker is a prepared surface.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

James Edwards

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Bunkers are Hazards!...... arent they???
« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2003, 08:01:06 AM »

Quote
The first problem is in the rules, a bunker is a prepared surface.

In principal though, do you think the idea of having bunkers not as prepared surfaces, food for thought?

I'm into the idea of maintaining the lengths of the existing professional courses without having to lengthen and tighten at every conceivable opportunity and start playing back into the hands of strategy on the course.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
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Rick_Noyes

Re: Bunkers are Hazards!...... arent they???
« Reply #3 on: February 12, 2003, 08:16:56 AM »
JJSE,

I would venture to guess that most professionals would rather have a full swing sand shot than a testy quarter swing chip to the hole. Especially when short-sided. I do agree that most pros are fond of complaining about the color, texture, and consistency of the sand as well as complaining about a plugged lie on the face. They also "bitch" about too high rough, tight fairways, wet fairways, dry fairways, too fast greens, un-fair pins, no tee towels, no water in the ball-washers, etc., etc. etc. etc. If they have the game, they can cope with whatever is out there, if they don't, they "bitch".
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

A_Clay_Man

Re: Bunkers are Hazards!...... arent they???
« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2003, 08:17:19 AM »
JJse- I play at a course where the clientel has been known not to rake. I wouldn't wish those lies on anyone. Even on a premadonna with a bad attitude.

I'd much rather see a guy shoot 49
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Tom Doak

Re: Bunkers are Hazards!...... arent they???
« Reply #5 on: February 12, 2003, 09:15:43 AM »
I wrote an article for GOLF Magazine on that very subject maybe ten years ago.

My main interview for the article was David Eger, who was responsible for setting up Tour courses then.  David had also won the Crump Cup at Pine Valley a couple of times, so I thought he'd be understanding of the idea.

But he was incredulous at the idea of playing for MONEY under those conditions.  Besides, he said, he didn't think many fans on TV would enjoy watching a guy in a greenside bunker play back into the fairway, as he'd sometimes had to do in impossible lies at Pine Valley.  (I had to agree with him there.)

Can you imagine how much foot-dragging there would be by the early groups?
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Jeff_Lewis (Guest)

Re: Bunkers are Hazards!...... arent they???
« Reply #6 on: February 12, 2003, 09:18:16 AM »
The problem with bunkers not being raked during the course of a day, is that the first groups out have an advantage on the later ones. One can certainly take the view that odd lies happen, the rub of the green and all that, but...then you basically have to have people tromp around the bunkers before ANYBODY tees off and NEVER rake them.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Tom Doak

Re: Bunkers are Hazards!...... arent they???
« Reply #7 on: February 12, 2003, 09:21:11 AM »
It can work in match play, since the two combatants play each hole under the same conditions.  It can work in informal play.  But it just won't work under 72-hole medal play with the leaders going off last, and that's all the Tour is.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

TEPaul

Re: Bunkers are Hazards!...... arent they???
« Reply #8 on: February 12, 2003, 09:39:00 AM »
Bunkers are Hazards!....aren't they??

Depends what's meant by "hazards" I guess. It's sort of sad to hear what Tom Doak said about the Tour players and those who play for a living and what they won't accept or can't. But maybe it's a reality, although I'm not so sure.

If you ask me hazards should be "sentinels" and to be good sentinels they have to have some kind of meaning in playability, more than they do now. Frankly, I think if hazards on the tours were better sentinels somehow, those guys are so good they wouldn't need to spend more time getting out of real meaningful hazards because they'd do so much of a better job of staying out of them in the first place than they do now!
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:02 PM by -1 »

Tom Doak

Re: Bunkers are Hazards!...... arent they???
« Reply #9 on: February 12, 2003, 09:48:47 AM »
Tom - You are absolutely right about that.

I think Tom Watson was the first player I watched who didn't worry about bunkers at all.  He figured he was good enough that if he got in one, he'd just get up and down anyway, so he might as well keep attacking the hole.

Now the bunkers are so well groomed that most weeks, everyone has that attitude.  On the other hand, if the bunkers really were trouble, the best players would adjust and avoid them.  (Tiger Woods, 2000 Open, zero bunkers.)

But nobody's perfect, and there would be many weeks when a player leading down the stretch made a double bogey because of a nasty lie in the bunker ... and a lot of people (including the players) would think that was UNFAIR ... and that would be the end of it.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Michael Dugger

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Re: Bunkers are Hazards!...... arent they???
« Reply #10 on: February 12, 2003, 10:02:41 AM »
It is interesting to me how some of these ideas can be kicked around for years and years.  Obviously, we know what Mr. Fownes position is on the subject.  I, too, agree that it is sickening to hear players 'root' for their ball to find a bunker, but what can we do?  Is promoting the notion of irregular lies via not raking the bunkers a good solution?  I suspect not.  

Despite Mr. Doak's point about players playing out backwards and the difficulties this causes in medal play, I LOVE seeing the guys have to do it.  Nothing sweeter than seeing pro hit it where he shouldn't have and having to lose a stroke because of it.  Unfortunately, however, the notion of 'steep and deep' bunkers does not bode well for swift play.  Nor does it allow for the lesser players to enjoy themselves and escape their round with a decent #.  It's all about fun right?  This dilemma makes a case for different golf courses for different groups of people.  It also makes the great courses, which address both of these groups equally, that much greater, IMHO.  

Isn't it one of Mac's notions that goes fairly unmentioned here?  A great golf course is one that tests the professional yet still allows for the beginner to have a shot at shooting a decent number.  I guess we must leave the bunkers alone, and keep raking them.  
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
What does it matter if the poor player can putt all the way from tee to green, provided that he has to zigzag so frequently that he takes six or seven putts to reach it?     --Alistair Mackenzie--

A_Clay_Man

Re: Bunkers are Hazards!...... arent they???
« Reply #11 on: February 12, 2003, 10:14:28 AM »
Besides the prepared area bit, section 1 also states: Holes in Bunkers- Before leaving a bunker, a player should carefully fill up and smooth over all holes and footprints made by him.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Datatom

Re: Bunkers are Hazards!...... arent they???
« Reply #12 on: February 12, 2003, 10:49:21 AM »
Does anyone have the data on this:

compare the greenside sand save percentage versus the greenside rough up and down percentage.

I don't think the golfers worry to much about the rough either unless it is just this side of unplayable. When it comes to par 5's, grip it and rip it.

When it comes to par 4's, even a smoothly raked bunker is not as good a resting spot as a birdie putt. So you know that the golfers do try to avoid the bunkers on par 3's and 4's for sure.

Speaking of pros bitching, we may be wasting our time bitching about raking the bunkers. If the golf course designers want to (speaking of Tom Doak), they can simply design in true rugged hazards such as tall grasses and the like. They don't have to put sand traps in those places if they don't want to. And I would guess that Tom Doak knows they will be raked when he designs them in. Make them some other feature if the raked sand is a problem. Make them a gnarley grass hollow or a waste area. If this is truly a problem, why try to change what is a normality (raked sand) instead of demanding more creativity from the professional golf course designers.

« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

A_Clay_Man

Re: Bunkers are Hazards!...... arent they???
« Reply #13 on: February 12, 2003, 11:33:53 AM »
Datatom- You simply must travel to Nebraska and checkout the convex bunker at Wild Horse's 5th(?)
Slag and i actually saw what must've been the impetus for the idea on our roundabout search for the entrance to mecca,,,i mean sand hills.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

superintendent

Re: Bunkers are Hazards!...... arent they???
« Reply #14 on: February 12, 2003, 01:05:20 PM »
J.J.S.E.

Could you describe when, if ever, you would rake a bunker?

Keep in mind such things as proper sand maintenance. What happens if we do not rake a bunker at all and the sand washes down the bunker face and then gets contaminated the next time it rains heavily?

If what you are calling for is to have the pros play a different game than the amatuers, then in that case I assume we could rake the bunkers whenever there was not a professional tournament. But then raked bunkers become a sort of winter rules type of thing for amatuers. Or at best they become part of a local rule that calls for raking the bunkers.

It might be easier to just allow the pros to receive the reward of a sand save if they can accomplish it. They are exhibiting exceptional skill in those sand pits afterall. Plus, if we want to make them pay for being good at their craft, we had better bring back the stymie, as those guys can putt lights out too. Plus, remember one more thing, Gary Player was shooting for sand traps decades ago and getting up and down. These guys have been using traps for a long time.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

TEPaul

Re: Bunkers are Hazards!...... arent they???
« Reply #15 on: February 12, 2003, 03:25:44 PM »
"It is interesting to me how some of these ideas can be kicked around for years and years. Obviously, we know what Mr. Fownes position is on the subject. I, too, agree that it is sickening to hear players 'root' for their ball to find a bunker, but what can we do? Is promoting the notion of irregular lies via not raking the bunkers a good solution? I suspect not."

Mdugger:

This Oakmont point of yours is a fantastic point about the function of bunkers! It's just a fantastic point!

But a real distinction needs to be made. The fairway bunkers of Oakmont do not have bad lies in them per se, and probably since their furrowing they haven't had.

So obviously looking to make lies in bunkers the thing to make players in this world pay more attention to the function of bunkering is not the place to look!

But what Oakmont's bunkers (some of them) have been and can be since the beginning with William Fownes's upgrading of Oakmont is POTENTIALLY ARCHITECTURALLY penal and problematic beyond belief but frankly dependent on luck (where your ball comes to rest in the well maintained sand). And they are today just as they've always been that way.

But apparently the players know that going in and they accept that without remark--they know they've always been that way and they do all they can to avoid them. It's just terrific to see the decision making on some of Oakmont's holes like #10 and I think #12 and some others by players on the tees in very much both distance and direction with their club selections and all just to do whatever they can to avoid those fairway bunkers!

And on some of the other holes like #3 and #4 (church pews) seeing players almost squatting down behind their balls in the bunker to try to visualize a marginal trajectory to see how much they can get out of a recovery.

But many of the bunkers on a great championship course such as Oakmont are amzingly variable and potentially penal but it has nothing to do with the lies in the bunkers and everything to do with their architecture.

Maybe that's the key to bringing back function to the bunker feature! Don't even think about the lies anymore--let the architecture accomplish the same thing!

« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:02 PM by -1 »

James Edwards

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Bunkers are Hazards!...... arent they???
« Reply #16 on: February 12, 2003, 04:00:06 PM »
Mr Superintendent, Thank you

I was a green keeper at Chart Hills Golf Club in England specifically looking after 180 bunkers, so I understand your thoughts and feelings on this subject.

I would only rake the bunker after close of play on Sunday and conversely leave the sand alone from Monday. This would mean the member doesn't get affected by it.

To answer your question about whether I want the professionals to play a different game - they already do.

They have a special area behind everyone elses called a 'Championship Tee', they have special prototype clubs, that we cant get hole of for love nor money, they have galleries stopping there balls going further into trouble saving them shots etc.etc, they have drop zones around the greens if there shot goes near one !!

Q Is golf the only game where the professionals have different rules / conditions of play, than the amateur? Im sure it isn't.

All I want to do is stop them aiming for bunkers and taking them for granted..

Mr Doak, Thank you

Do you still have access to the artcicle? If so, can you tell me where I can get hold of it.

Foot dragging would be an added interest in my opinion. Wouldn't that deter you from going in the bunker if you were Tiger Woods in the last group in the fairway, knowing that Mr Duval, Mickelson and Garcia were all there before hand?

More strategy in the shot, More clarity of thought, More gutts to go for the pin, more chance of a two shot swing?? therefore more exciting to watch....

« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
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James Edwards

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Bunkers are Hazards!...... arent they???
« Reply #17 on: February 12, 2003, 04:16:33 PM »
Tom and Jeff,

Match play would be better.. interesting possibilites..

How about having say 2 of 4 greenside bunkers on a given hole as prepared and the others unprepared?  Gives a new meaning to sunday pin position.  Maybe thursday / friday near the prepared surface bunker and the tucked away pin found on most weekends on tour near the unprepared bunker - interesting permutations!

But the same happens with the greens doesn't it.  The first players get the better conditions don't they - freshly cut and rolled greens with no spike marks....

TEPaul, thank you
Great point..
I agree about the sentinels having more meaning in playability, more than they do now!  Makes so much sense to me..
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
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Jim Sweeney

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Re: Bunkers are Hazards!...... arent they???
« Reply #18 on: February 12, 2003, 04:33:41 PM »
We tried an experiment a long time ago at a club to which I belonged- posted a sign which said we were going to rake bunkers Friday AM and Monday nights. Raking was up to the membership at all other times.  We did feel obliged to rake prior to outside events, but not for intra-club tournaments. Non rakers quickly became pariahs, and bunker conditions improved overall.

A membership drive brought in a lot of young folks not trained in bunker raking. Not wishing to offend our new mates, the initiative died.

Pity. The longer-termed members were taking more pride in the course (we noticed a reduction in unfilled divots and ball marks, too), and the staff liked having the extra time for other jobs that required their considerable skills.

This idea probably would not work at a public course.

No child should be allowed on the golf course without first learning to fill, fix, and rake.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
"Hope and fear, hope and Fear, that's what people see when they play golf. Not me. I only see happiness."

" Two things I beleive in: good shoes and a good car. Alligator shoes and a Cadillac."

Moe Norman

TEPaul

Re: Bunkers are Hazards!...... arent they???
« Reply #19 on: February 12, 2003, 04:36:02 PM »
J.J.S.E.

You're welcome, and welcome to Golfclubatlas.com the world wide website that many comfortable golfers love to hate. Where are you anyway? Hope you're still in England, and don't plan on coming over here--the golf appears to be more interesting where you are if your in the British Isles.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

TEPaul

Re: Bunkers are Hazards!...... arent they???
« Reply #20 on: February 12, 2003, 04:44:17 PM »
jesplusone:

That's a great, wonderful, terrific idea you had going at that club of yours. I once proposed that very thing on here having no idea at the time if it had ever been done or if it good ever be done with our American mindset.

It truly is a pity it died at your club. There's every reason to reimpliment it. Not wanting to offend new members is amazing and a terrible thing to think of. You should offend them with your bunkers at every possible opportunity.

Tell them if they can't appreciate the communal participation and get with the program you'll find some other potential member who can. Every good golf club should have a functioning exit policy that's apparent to new members with the entrance policy.

Matter of fact the last thought is worthy of a thread!

Momentarily.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:02 PM by -1 »

James Edwards

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Bunkers are Hazards!...... arent they???
« Reply #21 on: February 12, 2003, 05:42:05 PM »
jesplusone, thank you for the response.
To reitterate my new friend TEPaul, interestingly seductive idea of having an exit policy?? hmm ponder ponder!

TEpaul,
I appreciate the welcome, the english would say - how civil of you old chap (cheques in the post!)

Im a golf course architect with a building architect degree, based in Kent near St Georges and not far from sunningdale, wentworth, swinley, woking and berkshire.

Im not convinced here as opposed to their? interesting thread??

I've just returned from your shores, or the east shore of a months tour with RCStanfield

Pine Valley, Merion in the same day
Shinnecock and NGLA also in the same day with Maidstone
East Lake and Peachtree with augusta
Seminole and Jupiter with Sawgrass
Pinehurst and Dunes
Ocean course and Harbour Town
Winged Foot and Country Club
Oakmont, St Simons Island

You have a few nice ones - just a few (hint of sarcasm)

It would be good if you can come over here and play my home coastal courses?

« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
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Jim Sweeney

Re: Bunkers are Hazards!......   arent they???
« Reply #22 on: February 12, 2003, 06:11:29 PM »
J.J.S.E.:

Thanks for the invitation. Have not been to your side of the ocean for golf. I have children in college for the next eight years (fightful to think of the initiation fees I could pay if only...) so the short term future isn't too bright for that sort of thing. But.....

Welcome to GCA. Look forward to more of your posts.

Jim Sweeney (aka jesplusone on another browser)

« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

James Edwards

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Bunkers are Hazards!...... arent they???
« Reply #23 on: February 12, 2003, 06:29:08 PM »
Jim,
Once again, thank you, I appreciate you taking the time to welcome me.  I'll follow your posts also and support your threads etc to return the favour..

Where are you based?

TI know talk is cheap, Jim, but you are more than welcome to have a few rounds here when you are in the area.

« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
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Biarritz

Re: Bunkers are Hazards!...... arent they???
« Reply #24 on: February 12, 2003, 07:18:33 PM »
The big problem here is that the architects these days have made golf courses easier to better suit the poor golfer. This is why old courses have lost alot of their crossbunkers that were only negotiable with a wedge. how about a bunker 20 feet deep on a par five see how many pros hit their second in it.
Just some sand for thought.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

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