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reidsou

Why Not "Lift, Rake, and Place"?

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I have a member who wants our club to adopt a local rule during off season events to allow "lift, rake, and place" in bunkers. Kind of "winter rules for bunkers". I'm against this because it is not an authorized local rule (Committee Procedures section 8). Violates rules 1.1 and 8.1. I would prefer to avoid precedents of disregarding USGA rules, even in the off season. Plus, I don't see why we should make it easier to play out of bunkers - they are a hazard

I would like to give the member an authoritative convincing answer.

Already tried to get some help from the USGA - asked about their past experience with considering and rejecting this local rule request and/or to explain their perspective on why improving your lie in a bunker is fundamentally different than improving your lie in the fairway (allowed under model local rule E-3). They did not answer, just said it is not allowed. 

Thoughts on what I can say to this member? 

 

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For our course, we do “enact” this for winter season because we are very limited in maintenance staff and don’t want to have to worry about raking bunkers every day. Especially since it rains almost every day. Easier to just have golfers rake and place. 

If they want to play by the official rules, don’t do it. Easy. 

Sort of off topic, but this is the tough part for golf courses. We want to save on labor costs when income is low but at the sacrifice of the official rules of golf. As a private course, you’d have to decide what is more important.

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It's the off-season… who cares? Decide what game you want to play within your group, but you can't post scores, so… except for gambling, who cares?

Not trying to be glib or anything @reidsou, and I appreciate the desire to play by the Rules. But, it's the off-season, and rounds can't be posted or anything, so…

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We roll them in the bunkers. Funny thing is, the guys who push hardest for this struggle to get out of a perfect bunker in the summer. As @iacas said, your not posting score anyway.

 

 

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10 hours ago, iacas said:

It's the off-season… who cares? Decide what game you want to play within your group, but you can't post scores, so… except for gambling, who cares?

Not trying to be glib or anything @reidsou, and I appreciate the desire to play by the Rules. But, it's the off-season, and rounds can't be posted or anything, so…

Thanks for the thoughts. Even though off season for handicap posting, the rounds I'm referring to are still tournaments with money prizes.

The reason I care about this is the precedent for upholding USGA rules. Handicap season or not. 

Also, in this case, we would be avoiding bad lies in bunkers. But bad lies are the reason bunkers exist! (IMO) So it seems completely unnecessary and counter to the spirit of the game. 

At our club we have a history of verbal rules where it depends on who you ask what the rule is, and accompanying debates about what the rule *should* be. We're trying to change that. An important tool is to adhere as closely as possible to the written rules and USGA guidance. 

Other examples: we have a temporary green "automatic two putt" rule. We allow preferred lies in the general area instead of just on fairways. We have off-the-cuff player decisions about what is GUR. Players skip penalty drops on abnormal course conditions and drop outside the relief area. Players take penalty area relief for balls that may be lost outside of a penalty area. 

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4 hours ago, reidsou said:

Even though off season for handicap posting, the rounds I'm referring to are still tournaments with money prizes.

Shouldn't the GK maintain the bunkers for these events?

Our bunkers are seldom maintained during the off season.

I'd be happy if they would give a little luv to the greens once a month (Mow and Roll)

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A few years ago, my muni's bunkers were a total disaster, so my association actually did rake and place in season.

Fortunately, things have gotten better and we played by the rules for the last two years.

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9 hours ago, reidsou said:

Thanks for the thoughts. Even though off season for handicap posting, the rounds I'm referring to are still tournaments with money prizes.

The reason I care about this is the precedent for upholding USGA rules. Handicap season or not. 

Like I said, I care as much about playing under the USGA rules as anyone, but…

9 hours ago, reidsou said:

Also, in this case, we would be avoiding bad lies in bunkers. But bad lies are the reason bunkers exist! (IMO) So it seems completely unnecessary and counter to the spirit of the game.

I don't know, man. Sometimes off-season bunkers can be pretty bad. And then you're not really testing skill so much, but you're adding emphasis to the role of luck in determining who wins.

Yes, you can get a bad lie in a bunker from time to time when they're being maintained. But the odds are much higher when the bunkers aren't being maintained in the off-season.

9 hours ago, reidsou said:

At our club we have a history of verbal rules where it depends on who you ask what the rule is, and accompanying debates about what the rule *should* be. We're trying to change that. An important tool is to adhere as closely as possible to the written rules and USGA guidance.

Then what are you after here?

It seems your mind is made up, and… what?

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On 1/11/2020 at 11:03 AM, reidsou said:

I have a member who wants our club to adopt a local rule during off season events to allow "lift, rake, and place" in bunkers. Kind of "winter rules for bunkers". I'm against this because it is not an authorized local rule (Committee Procedures section 8). Violates rules 1.1 and 8.1. I would prefer to avoid precedents of disregarding USGA rules, even in the off season. Plus, I don't see why we should make it easier to play out of bunkers - they are a hazard

I would like to give the member an authoritative convincing answer.

Already tried to get some help from the USGA - asked about their past experience with considering and rejecting this local rule request and/or to explain their perspective on why improving your lie in a bunker is fundamentally different than improving your lie in the fairway (allowed under model local rule E-3). They did not answer, just said it is not allowed. 

Thoughts on what I can say to this member? 

 

You are hitting the main arguments. Improving your lie is inconsistent with the Rules. Ruling Bodies have given careful consideration to any reasonable Local Rules that can be defended in particular conditions, published as Model Local Rules (76 of them). This isn't one of them and that is no accident. And there is also a process for special case consideration through your State/National body, but 'winter' doesn't cut it for a bunker, it's not like the grass dying off in the fairway. And fairway is supposed to be the playable area, bunkers are supposed to be a challenge and one best avoided. So unless you have a nightly attack of a gaggle of rampant geese partying in your bunkers, I don't see any special case.

In many courses across diverse parts of the golfing world, this issue of weather affected or poorly maintained bunkers is chronic - it is nothing to do with winter. My club grooms them once a week and between those times, ie most of the time, their condition is average to appalling. This not only reflects the average poor behaviour of players but the sand is all different in texture and depth and even the watering systems cause them grief. So for any organised competition/tournaments, suck it up, it's called golf. Learning to play the shots you need is preferable to avoiding the trickier ones.

Social golf is another thing. Rake away if that is your preference. And please leave the bunker in better shape than you found it.

PS If the bunkers (or some) are genuinely unplayable for whatever reason, the Committee can close them down by defining them as GUR.

Edited by fredf
minor addition

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During our off season there typically are no rakes in the bunkers.  Some of us make an effort to scuff our tracks but the bunkers can be pretty churned up by golfers, deer, rain.  We don't run tournaments or post scores so everyone pretty much does what they want.

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On 1/11/2020 at 1:56 PM, iacas said:

Then what are you after here?

It seems your mind is made up, and… what?

Yes, my mind is made up. See my original post:

On 1/10/2020 at 4:03 PM, reidsou said:

I'm against this because it is not an authorized local rule... 

...

Thoughts on what I can say to this member? 

 

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43 minutes ago, reidsou said:

Yes, my mind is made up. See my original post:

My point was that you could stop taking an off-season event so seriously when unmaintained bunkers are more likely to increase the luck factor in who wins or loses.

So what do I suggest you say to the member? "Okay, buddy, you win. I can see the reasoning for playing LRP in unmaintained bunkers in the off-season."

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"Authorative answer" - Meh.

He's asking for a 'local rule' in the winter officially to the club - good on him for following process instead of belligerently going rogue.   So it seems like he already understands the official rules and this is a request for some relief in the offseason.  That's something the club can do or not.  Frankly, good for him to try to get it clear up front.

So - the club can adopt what it wants - he can make his case, you can make yours, others can chime in as they like.  Then the club will decide.

As for 'fun' rounds.  I don't care what others do.

As for 'signalling' your commitment to the rules - congrats.

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