Bunker rake is commonly used to keep sand traps of a golf course expertly conditioned and ready for play. It typically consists of a row of metal teeth attached to a long handle. Majority of the bunker rake can smooth both fine and coarse sand into perfect playing conditions easily and quickly. Growing adoption of golf as leisure activity, especially among retired personnel has been driving the demand for bunker rake in the recent times. Bunker maintenance is an unavoidable part of golf-course, superintendents must rake, edge, and control weeds to maintain good playing conditions in bunker. This is the major growth driving factor of the global bunker rake market.
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Golf Tourism in Asia Pacific to Fuel Growth of Bunker Rake Market
Increasing government initiatives to adopt golf tourism as part of promotion of nation’s tourism across Asia Pacific is expected to influence the development of bunker rake market in the region. Further, trends of night golfing in Japan coupled with corporate sponsorship of golf tournaments and development of land into resorts and luxury housing have increased the popularity of the sport which in turn is likely to accelerate the growth of bunker rake market in the Asia Pacific region.
Notable Developments in Bunker Rake Market
- John Deere, with its introduction of 1200H bunker rake, continues to aid golf courses and sports arenas by facilitating relevant maintenance operations. This new bunker rake offers the advantage of hydrostatic transmission, which enables excellent pushing and pulling power for imparting a trouble-free, premium finish to golf courses. This bunker rake also comprises operator-friendly features such as wide running boards and an adjustable seat.
- The most recent bunker rake development from Standard Golf, the Chief, is considered to be first of its kind, featuring 2-in-1 bunker rake. It consists a smooth side for rolling the bunker’s vertical face, and the other side having ridges for scraping the trap’s bottom. This bunker rake exerts a more consistent finish compared to their traditional counterparts. Although the Chief is designed for improving bunker play of golfers, it can also be deployed effective for application in greens and fairways.
- Momentus Sports’ new, revolutionary innovation – The Bunker Wizard™ – is considered to be a disruptive development in the global bunker rake market. The all stainless steel construction ensures durability and reliability of the equipment, which creates rooster-tail of sand and eliminates troughs & furrows that are common nuisance entailed by use of bunker rakes. This innovative solution to smoothen sand in bunkers is likely to make bunker rakes obsolete altogether.
Growing Investment in Golf Construction Facilities: A Positive Indicator for the Bunker Rake Industry
Bunker rakes seek extensive adoption in golf course construction projects, facilitating maintenance operations and retaining required conditions of sand traps. Mechanical bunker rakes have gained popularity over the recent past, with its relatively higher efficiency and multi-purposes attributes, as compared to hand rakes. Over 500 golf course projects are underway worldwide, in various stages of advanced planning or active construction, according to an R&A-funded study. R&A, in coordination with several global leading golf companies, has been supported the operations of the U.S.-based golf association – National Golf Foundation (NGF) – developing and maintaining complete inventory of the golf facilities located across the globe.
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Over half of the ongoing golf course projects are apropos of resort developments, elucidating the in-depth relationship between tourism, golf, and economic development. Presence of more than 200 active golf course construction projects, and over 300 impending ones is a key indication of golf’s continued future expansion. For example, over 50 new golf course projects are being undertaken in Africa, involving nearly 20 different countries. Development of the sport in Europe has traversed eastward, with non-traditional golf countries such as Kazakhstan, Czech Republic, and Hungary, sporting new projects linked with resort and residential development complexes.
In Asia, shift of the sport’s prevalence is toward the south, with Vietnam boding over 40 established facilities, and over 30 ongoing projects at different development stages. Golf is being leveraged as a driving force, not only for sport & recreation, but also for community build out & regional planning. The R&A study recommends economically inventive projects to be embedded in the local environment conditions, which aid molding distinctive yet promising results of the outcome.
Provided with current tight regulatory culture, and scrutiny of everything ranging from minor disturbance of lands to pesticide-utilizing maintenance programs, golf course managers are ensuring long-term feasibility of their projects. Such proliferation and advancements in golf course projects will rub off on demand for bunker rake, thereby driving its market growth in the forthcoming years.
Academic institutions and colleges are prioritizing fields of investment, where decisions and funds are directed toward the development of educational programs. In some institutions, millions are spent on upgraded sports facilities, apart from student residence and relevant expenditure. In the recent past, several prominent universities have discerned the sport of golf as a feasible investment for generating interest, boosting revenue generation from college fairways, embracing the next-generation golfers, and connecting with the community.
Significant return on investment has been linked with the collegiate golf projects, according to the architect Tripp Davis, an ex-student of the University of Oklahoma, who is overseeing a US$ 6.5 Mn golf course revamp at the university. He added that golf investments by universities is considered to be a win-win situation, great for schools and the sport itself. According to NGF, over 125 golf facilities are operated or owned by the U.S. colleges, with Michigan State, Arizona State, Florida State, Texas, and Oklahoma being major universities investing in massive golf course projects. Investments made by universities in golf courses will create a huge demand for relevant equipment, and bunker rake is no exception.
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