Product review: Rake Caddy – Golf Canada SCOREGolf
When a Rake Caddy arrived at my door on a frigid afternoon in February, I was admittedly a tad sceptical.
Sure, Mike White and Ryan Curran’s new Canadian-designed personal use golf rake had earned the Inventor Spotlight Pinnacle Award at the 2021 PGA Merchandise Show. I was also aware that White, a mental performance coach, and Curran, a PGA of Canada professional, were trying to promote Rake Caddy as a means for speeding up play, which, in turn, could help elevate the golfer experience.
Play the game and at some point you’ll make a lengthy trek or two around bunkers to grab a rake or be victimized by one not being on hand at all. This was especially true during the pandemic when government health legislation kept rakes off of golf courses across the country.
But I digress.
After including Rake Caddy in a piece on Canadian golf innovators a year ago I was anxious to finally put this product to the test to see if it could live up to advance billing.
When the package arrived the UPS delivery person in my area had a grin on his face.
“Sounds like something might be in there but I wasn’t sure if the sender forgot to put the thing in. Pretty light,” he said.
That’s accurate. Although a couple of feet long, the small, rectangular box weighed almost nothing. Maybe someone did forget to ship it, I thought. Alas, the 15-ounce product was indeed inside.
The middle of winter is never great timing to test golf products but White and Curran, like many small businesses, got caught in pandemic-related production problems and delivery issues. That’s hardly their fault but it messed up their initial timeline for retail and golf course availability. Originally, that was intended for last spring.
The PGA Show’s Pinnacle Award eased the frustration for the two friends and entrepreneurs who persevered and began shipping late in 2021.
“It was tough at times but we did the best we could with the situation. Lots of small companies had it way worse than we did,” said White, who also mentioned that the product is assembled in British Columbia.
As mentioned, my first impression of Rake Caddy wasn’t glowing. While I had no reservations that it could travel well on a power cart, I did question durability inside someone’s golf bag with as many as 14 other clubs and if it could stand up to the rigours of smoothing out all types of sand as it was designed. Logistically, the product can also be carried in a side umbrella or towel loop which is probably its best placement.
“The extension handle is made of the same material pick-up truck manufacturers use for running boards,” White said. “It’s not your standard aluminium. It’s really, really strong.”
Right now the handle is imported from overseas but Curran and White eventually want Rake Caddy to be 100 per cent Canadian.
One issue is with taller individuals. At a maximum length of 36-inches it’s shorter than a standard bunker rake so you will bend more to use it.
The other functional aspect I wondered about was the patented locking system. Simple and easy enough to open and push closed, could the double spring mechanism remain dependable after prolonged use.
Test number one was completed over a few days. Sitting in my office I opened and closed Rake Caddy probably a couple hundred times without any problem. That can change through time but out of the gate it seemed as if it was built to last.
Fast forward to earlier this week.
Playing 18 holes at Tarandowah Golf Club near London, Ont., I put the product through its paces on an actual golf course. Only one round in but from a form and function standpoint it gets a thumbs up. The rake’s tight teeth are only 12-inches in width but Rake Caddy worked nicely even in sand that hasn’t fully dried out from recent spring rains. I also tested it on sloped and flat areas of the bunker with equally good results.
I’ll continue to test the product for the duration of the summer but my expectations for it will continue to be high.
“Rakes always seems to be on the other side of a bunker. Players have a better experience with no obstacles and less running around the bunker to find a rake. Rake Caddy can decrease mowing times (maintenance staff don’t need to get off their machines to put rakes in bunkers), repair costs, sanitation requirements and inconvenience sustainability. That savings will translate to the player over time,” White added.
Rake Caddy recently aligned with Caddy Time, a mobile-app business founded by David Rider and M Brett Jaffee that pairs golfers with caddies regionally at golf courses across the United States and Canada. The PGA of Canada announced a national partnership with the Uber-style app, which will help support the 100th edition of the BetRegal PGA Championship of Canada next month at Beacon Hall Golf Club in Aurora, Ont.
Caddy Time caddies will be equipped with Rake Caddys as part of their tools of the trade. For White and Curran’s Barrie, Ont., start-up, it’s an alignment with good word-of-mouth advertising upside and perhaps an organic channel for Rake Caddy to break into the lucrative U.S. market.
As a matter of disclosure I did suggest to White and Curran that the product could also be used in a multi-purpose capacity as an alignment aid on the range.
Rake Caddy is available online through the company’s website and is priced at $65.99. It can also be customized with golf course or company logos and comes with a 30-day money back guarantee.