I need to come clean. When the pandemic began, I was not the pillar of obedience. I allowed more than one person in the clubhouse to relieve themselves. Seemed humane. I refused to give four seniors from Oshkosh who all rode in the same enclosed car, four separate golf carts so they could be separated while outside. When an employee got covid, I did not close for 5 days and call Serve-Pro for a complete restoration of the facility. I remember three college age guys from Madison (when asked if a single could walk with them as a fourth) screamed at me on the porch, “you are murdering people!” Then one came back 3 minutes later to make sure I had a beverage cart girl on the course. Rules for thee, but not for me. I know… I’m a terrible, terrible person. But there was one thing I did, and I still do today, that changed everything…. I got rid of rakes in the bunkers.
For the last three years, if you asked me where the rakes are, I would say covid. Easy answer. Though it doesn’t actually true-up with any of my other behaviors, people accept it, because you’re a shameful person if you question covid prevention tactics, even if they make no @*%$ing sense…like golf’s contribution to saving humanity…a pool noodle in the cup.
We have 87 bunkers, two or three rakes per bunker, and for the last the last 18 years I have watched my 75 year old rough mower have to get off his machine, and throw 200 rakes back in the bunkers so he could mow. Then half hour later, I watch my 64 year old trap rake guy get off his machine, and throw 200 rakes back out of the bunker so he can spin the bunkers. When either gets lazy… grass is not mowed on the edges, footprints remain in the corners, or they simply run the rakes over, forcing me to buy another $28 plastic rake so you are not impaled by the splintered handle shards. This entire production wastes time, money, and its aggravating as hell for everyone.
Solution…we went out at zero dark thirty, collected all the rakes, bought a zero turn trap rake that goes like 30mph in transit, and we rake all the bunkers every single day. It takes one guy just over an hour and half, and he never has to get off his machine.
I never met a golfer who enjoyed raking bunkers. Now the guilt is gone. Move your ball 6 inches in a bunker if you have too, but the reality is, the bunkers are so good now 7 days a week, it’s hardly an issue. Sure I still get 5 critiques a year who take me to task about traditional etiquette. But that always ends poorly for these neo-traditionalists, because I’m actually “so traditional” I actually believe bunkers are hazards and should never, ever, ever be raked in the first place. Obviously I choose not to propagate my belief system.
I like to think beautifully raking 87 bunkers, 7 days a week, has been a “customer first” decision, even if I’m an epically horrible person.