Let’s Face It – Fried-Egg Lies Are Not Fun
By Larry Gilhuly, director, Northwest RegionJanuary 22, 2014
raking bunker faces as often or smoothing them with the backside of the rake,
i.e., not using the teeth of the rake, are trends in the Northwest that have
proven effective in keeping bunker faces firmer and less likely to produce fried-egg
the worst golf ball lie in the game? While some may argue that any ball
out-of-bounds or in a lake is the most likely candidate, let’s narrow it down
to a ball that lands in a hazard and is usually playable: a bunker. Remember, bunkers
are hazards designed to be avoided, so they do not need to be perfectly
consistent as many players desire. There is, however, one lie in a bunker that
truly can be very difficult, and in extreme cases, can result in lost balls or
unplayable situations. Yes, I speak of the dreaded “fried-egg” lie. Several golf
facilities from the highest budget to the lowest in the Northwest are now
virtually eliminating this situation with one minor change in their raking
in the photo is a good example of a trend that is occurring with golf courses
that simply want to rid golf balls burying on the face of their bunkers. The
bottoms of bunkers are regularly raked; however, the sides are either not raked
on a regular basis or smoothed without raking teeth to allow the sand to firm.
The positives and negatives reported with this technique are as follows:
- Virtually eliminates all buried lies,
especially over an extended period of time as the bunker face remains
- Minimizes labor hours needed to rake bunkers.
- Minimizes sand contamination from soil and rocks
as sand is not moved down the slope when a power raking machine is used.
When hand raking is completed the same situation occurs to a lesser
- Helps retain bunker edges as hand raking excess
sand over the edges is greatly reduced.
- Based on climate, algae may form and must be
carefully controlled. Occasional hand raking is still needed when this
- Bunkers may look a little different.
- Players will still walk out of bunkers on the
faces requiring occasional “touch-up” raking. When players rake these
areas they often go too deep resulting in more frequent plugged lies.
spring arrives you may wish to give this simple idea a try at your golf
facility if you face the plague of “fried-egg” lies. Let’s face it; they really
are not a lot of fun.
Source: Larry Gilhuly (firstname.lastname@example.org)
on the USGA’s Course Consulting Service
Contact the Green Section Staff