Located along Jamaica Bay on the south shore of Long Island, the Inwood Country Club has seen many golf trends come and go in its 121-year history. Designed by Herbert Strong and site of the 1921 PGA Championship won by Walter Hagen and the 1923 U.S. Open won by Bobby Jones, Inwood invokes a sense of old-world tradition and timelessness. The golf course occupies a lowland setting, with exposure to the bay on our perimeter holes and more of a parkland feel on the inland holes.
For the past 18 years, under the direction of consulting architect Brian Slawnik from Renaissance Golf Design, Inwood has been restoring its historic course. This has involved major tree removal, expanding greens and fairways to their original sizes, and removing some modern course features like ball washers and asphalt cart paths. This year, after experiencing two years without rakes due to the pandemic, Inwood has decided to go rakeless permanently. Golfers now smooth out their bunker disturbances with a quick sweep of the foot. To us, removing rakes was a logical continuation of our efforts to bring back a style of golf at Inwood that is more natural and less artificial.
Our Green Committee had many practical and philosophical reasons for deciding that the course should go rakeless. However, the overriding reason was that we came to believe over the past two years that golf without rakes is just more fun. Who likes raking a bunker? Member Melanie Begun said “It’s nice not having to go find a rake, hit your shot, rake and then find the right spot to put the rake back. It saves so much time.” How much time? We think rounds at Inwood are about 10-15 minutes shorter without rakes.