Let’s Face It – Fried-Egg Lies Are Not Fun

By Larry Gilhuly, director, Northwest Region
January 22, 2014

Not 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 lies.

Name 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 technique.

Shown 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:

Positives

  • Virtually eliminates all buried lies, especially over an extended period of time as the bunker face remains firm.
  • 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 extent.
  • Helps retain bunker edges as hand raking excess sand over the edges is greatly reduced.

Negatives

  • Based on climate, algae may form and must be carefully controlled. Occasional hand raking is still needed when this occurs.
  • 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.

As 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 (lgilhuly@usga.org

Information on the USGA’s Course Consulting Service  

Contact the Green Section Staff  

Partner Links
AmEx image
AmEx image
AmEx image
AmEx image
Chevron
   

The USGA and Chevron have committed to using the game of golf to encourage students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines. This commitment has led to the creation of extensive golf-focused STEM teaching tools, and has resulted in charitable contributions to support golf-related programs through Eagles for Education™

At U.S. Open Championships the Chevron STEM ZONE™ is an interactive experience highlighting the science and math behind the game of golf through a variety of hands-on exhibits and experiments.

The partnership has also produced educational materials such as the Science of Golf video series and a nationally-distributed newspaper insert which are provided to teachers as tools to enhance existing curriculum in schools. These lessons teach the science behind the USGA’s equipment testing, handicapping, and agronomy efforts.

For more interactive experiences featuring golf-focused STEM lessons, visit the partnership homepage.

Chevron image
Rolex
   

Rolex has been a longtime supporter of the USGA and salutes the sportsmanship and great traditions unique to the game. This support includes the Rules of Golf where Rolex has partnered with the USGA to ensure golfers understand and appreciate the game.

As the official timekeeper of the USGA and its championships, they also provide clocks throughout host sites for spectator convenience.

For more information on Rolex and their celebration of the game, visit the Rolex and Golf homepage.



Rolex image
IBM
   

IBM has partnered with the USGA to bring the same technology, expertise, and innovation it provides to businesses all over the world to the USGA and golf's national championship.

IBM provides the information technology to develop and host the U.S. Open’s official website, www.usopen.com, as well as the mobile apps and scoring systems for the three U.S. Open championships. These real-time technology solutions provide an enhanced experience for fans following the championship onsite and online.

For more information on IBM and the technology that powers the U.S. Open and businesses worldwide, visit http://www.usopen.com/IBM

AmEx image
Lexus
   

Lexus is committed to partnering with the USGA to deliver a best-in-class experience for the world’s best golfers by providing a fleet of courtesy luxury vehicles for all USGA Championships.

At each U.S. Open, Women’s Open and Senior Open, Lexus provides spectators with access to unique experiences ranging from the opportunity to have a picture taken with both the U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open trophies to autograph signings with legendary Lexus Golf Ambassadors in the Lexus Performance Drive Pavilion.

For more information on Lexus, visit http://www.lexus.com/

AmEx image
American Express
   

Together, American Express and the USGA have been providing world-class service to golf fans since 2006. By creating interactive U.S. Open experiences both onsite and online, American Express enhances the USGA’s effort to make the game more accessible and enjoyable for fans.

For more information on American Express visit www.americanexpress.com/entertainment


AmEx image