Jump to content
Braivo

Would You Mind Crappy Bunkers? Scrapping Bunker Maintenance Could Save Some Golf Courses.

115 posts / 4991 viewsLast Reply

Recommended Posts

If golfers raked the bunkers after use they should be playable. Our club has started using  artificial turf for revetting  bunkers. The shelf life of the riveting is expected to be 20-25 years(versus 3-5 years of all natural ). The top layer is turfed and from all but microscopic  inspection the bunker looks and plays exactly the same. 
 

on abroad front clubs should IMO spend money on the course in this order. 
Greens, Aprons, Tees, Fairways, Bunkers, Aesthetics, followed by Rough, Trees and waste ground.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

Register for free today and you won't see this ad spot again!

16 minutes ago, Beastie said:

If golfers raked the bunkers after use they should be playable.

Lack of raking is usually the issue where I play. Most of the courses I play aren't heavily bunkered, and their condition is okay when raked, pretty good after new sand has been added, and never unplayable.

They do tend to get dense and compacted, especially after rain, but again, okay if raked.

That said, I would rather play a course with no bunkers as opposed to one with poorly maintained or non-maintained bunkers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

22 minutes ago, phillyk said:

Yesterday.  Course is typically in good shape tee to green, but bunkers are rather firm year round.  They are one of the bigger courses in our area.

See I don't see a firm bunker and a bunker where grass and weeds are allowed to grow as the same thing. A firm bunker still looks like a bunker. I am only talking from an aesthetic point of view. I don't want to SEE a bunker thats obviously been let go. 

I play a course here fairly often that has ridiculously hard bunkers. Pretty much hard pan to the point that often I will just putt out of them. BUT they still look like bunkers, they are edged, free of weeds and crabgrass, they are just super firm. Now while I would certainly prefer them to have a little sand in them, at least they don't look like crap. 

I suppose what I am getting at is I prefer a course to have some aesthetic value. It's almost as important to me as playability. The aesthetic value of a course suffers greatly when the bunkers are overgrown, unraked, and generally look like shit.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

11 minutes ago, NM Golf said:

See I don't see a firm bunker and a bunker where grass and weeds are allowed to grow as the same thing. A firm bunker still looks like a bunker. I am only talking from an aesthetic point of view. I don't want to SEE a bunker thats obviously been let go. 

I play a course here fairly often that has ridiculously hard bunkers. Pretty much hard pan to the point that often I will just putt out of them. BUT they still look like bunkers, they are edged, free of weeds and crabgrass, they are just super firm. Now while I would certainly prefer them to have a little sand in them, at least they don't look like crap. 

I suppose what I am getting at is I prefer a course to have some aesthetic value. It's almost as important to me as playability. The aesthetic value of a course suffers greatly when the bunkers are overgrown, unraked, and generally look like shit.

Gotca! I definitely agree that letting weeds and crap grow in bunkers is a terrible idea.  I thought you were clumping firm bunkers in there too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

I think we can all agree that bunkers can run the gamut from impeccable to down-right abandoned. 

As a muni player, perfection is never expected, but playable is the key. So, a bit of sand please. It doesn't have to be the fluffy, white stuff. Let's not have any weeds in there and no rocks that can damage a club.

That should be the standard and if a course can't manage that, it's time for the grass.

Edited by mcanadiens

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

The course I worked at for 2 years really struggled with this. The old Super and the old maintenance crew let the bunkers grow wild and weedy and gross. It cost the course millions in chemicals, sand and labor just to make them look presentable. After one season the weeds had returned and it was even more money to maintain. Golfers like the look of cleanly edged and maintained bunkers, but don’t like paying the premium that it costs, and really don’t like taking them or anything of the sort. It sucks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

38 minutes ago, mcanadiens said:

I think we can all agree that bunkers can run the gamut from impeccable to down-right abandoned. 

As a muni player, perfection is never expected, but playable is the key. So, a bit of sand please. It doesn't have to be the fluffy, white stuff. Let's not have any weeds in there and no rocks that can damage a club.

That should be the standard and if a course can't manage that, it's time for the grass.

Exactly right. A lot of courses I. The Uk have changed  bunkers with low usage, and especially obselete fairway bunkers, into grass bunkers. Costs are almost nothing and they still penalise poor shot

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

It seems this discussion should take place when designing new courses as well. There are certainly ways to design a course the minimizes ongoing maintenance costs and requires a smaller crew to maintain. Having less, if any, bunkers could do that. Or designing them to be "waste areas" that don't require much care. My local pasture would be better without sand traps, they are usually filled with water or hard pan. Best to sod them over and mow right through. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

Most courses I play have pretty sketchy bunker maintenance to begin with. Beyond running a sand pro over them occasionally . 
 

id be good with raked green side bunkers , some could even be grassed as some are in bizarre locations. Fairway bunkers.....leave em waste areas or grass them in

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

Another concept for dealing with any bunker's condition, is as Harvey Penick stated.  "...stay out of them".

Obviously pga professionals would probably prefer a green side bunker to higher, thick rough. Their bunkers are in perfect shape.  However, we amateurs would do well to steer clear of them when ever possible.  

Getting rid of them, or leaving a grassed in hole is not an answer in my opinion. 

Bunkers have been a part of golf forever. No reason to change the game in that respect.

Also, and I may be wrong, but I don't believe there is any rule that says all golf courses "must" be in 100% pristine conditions for the golfer. 

"Course Management", and "Play It As it Lies" are still a big deal in golf.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

15 minutes ago, Patch said:

"...stay out of them"

Bloody hell. Why didn't I think of that?

... At that rate, why not just hit in the hole to start with?

 

Edited by mcanadiens

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

25 minutes ago, Patch said:

Another concept for dealing with any bunker's condition, is as Harvey Penick stated.  "...stay out of them".

Obviously pga professionals would probably prefer a green side bunker to higher, thick rough. Their bunkers are in perfect shape.  However, we amateurs would do well to steer clear of them when ever possible.  

Getting rid of them, or leaving a grassed in hole is not an answer in my opinion. 

Bunkers have been a part of golf forever. No reason to change the game in that respect.

Also, and I may be wrong, but I don't believe there is any rule that says all golf courses "must" be in 100% pristine conditions for the golfer. 

"Course Management", and "Play It As it Lies" are still a big deal in golf.

This sounds good in theory, til you land in a bunker that could damage your club, or worse, your person. If we could put the ball exactly where we wanted, we'd all be playing for a living. There is a difference between "sub par" and "potentially harmful". My local course falls under the latter category. The other munis around here are better, but not by much. I pull from any bunker that looks potentially harmful. 

Funny anecdote. When I pull, I always put the bunker inbetween the ball and the hole. I have had multiple occasions where I duffed 3 chips into the bunker before getting over. I could have putt out of the bunker on the first stroke, but because I pulled it, it cost me 3-4 strokes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

5 hours ago, mcanadiens said:

No.

Water is very bad.

No doubt water is bad for a golfer because recovering is a lot harder, but at the end of it, I want to play a well maintained course.  I would rather the course limit features it can't maintain and only keep those it can.  Hence, if you can't maintain a bunker, turn it into another feature that is easy to maintain.  Whether that is water, filling it up and turning it into fairway or planting something and making it a hazard is immaterial, but a simple course that is well maintained is the reason we pay money to the course.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As to the cost of maintaining bunkers...

In addition to 'renovations' and heavy-project cost, the daily cost is very high. I graduated from college in the heights of the recession, and took a job doing maintenance at a very fancy country club. My low-man-on-the-totum-pole job there was raking sand bunkers. It took two of us (one doing odd holes, one doing evens) 4 hours to get all of the bunkers raked, 6 days a week.

That's ~$35,000 a year, just to rake the bunkers every day.

Edited by Sixwings86

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

13 minutes ago, Sixwings86 said:

As to the cost of maintaining bunkers...

In addition to 'renovations' and heavy-project cost, the daily cost is very high. I graduated from college in the heights of the recession, and took a job doing maintenance at a very fancy country club. My low-man-on-the-totum-pole job there was raking sand bunkers. It took two of us (one doing odd holes, one doing evens) 4 hours to get all of the bunkers raked, 6 days a week.

That's ~$35,000 a year, just to rake the bunkers every day.

I rake the bunkers all the time and nobody pays me a penny!

38 minutes ago, Bonvivant said:

This sounds good in theory, til you land in a bunker that could damage your club, or worse, your person. If we could put the ball exactly where we wanted, we'd all be playing for a living. There is a difference between "sub par" and "potentially harmful". My local course falls under the latter category. The other munis around here are better, but not by much. I pull from any bunker that looks potentially harmful. 

Funny anecdote. When I pull, I always put the bunker inbetween the ball and the hole. I have had multiple occasions where I duffed 3 chips into the bunker before getting over. I could have putt out of the bunker on the first stroke, but because I pulled it, it cost me 3-4 strokes.

Talk to Phil... he can set you up with the flop shot.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, phillyk said:

How is it upsetting?  They play courses that are in very good standing, typically.  I know it's an exaggeration, but it sounds like you are saying any courses that pros don't play are bad courses and are on their way out.  If I go to Pebble Beach or TPS Sawgrass or where ever, I'd expect great maintenance, but I would never expect that quality or close to at other tracks we usually play.

How is it upsetting?

This is an exact example from a course that is now closed.

Par 3 over a forced carry 160-180. Not the biggest green, bunkers on Left and right. A good hole.

So you hit a decent shot that finds a bunker. But the bunker is basically packed dirt because it doesn’t get raked. So then you blade it out of the dirt and make triple. That’s enough to produce a feeling of a ruined round.

People look at the pro’s to see how golf is supposed to be played. When you are unable to do so because the course refuses to simply rake their bunkers. It is upsetting. Some of the higher strung players (we have our fair share) will throw fits.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

Is "fewer bunkers" an option?  My guess is that upkeeping 10 bunkers is a lot less expensive than upkeeping 30.  For the design aspects, there are certainly other ways to protect the green.  This seems so simple to me that I am concerned that there is some critical element I am missing.

Okeeheelee, my nemesis, is only about 6100 yards, but damn it is hard.  One of the most evil of tricks is the plateau greens with fairly thick rough below.  But then you have the slopes and the kidney bean greens that demand a chip from the green if you end up on the wrong side.  There's also the simple tree placement just off the green.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

Has anyone mentioned using a different variety sand? Sand, that when it gets wet, and dries out, doesn't develope a crust. 

How about a mixture of sand, and some other substance that keeps the sand from turning into a crust? Vermiculite?

Basically a maintenance free sand.

Any landscape engineers in this thread?

Another thing. Why is bunker sand always white?

The up front cost might be a bit high. Replacement sand that disappears due to wind might enter into the cost. 

I vaguely remember a course I use to frequent that the sand was made up of crushed shell material. Sea shell type stuff. 

As for "sandless" bunkers, that's on the course management cutting corners to save a few bucks. 

Edited by Patch

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.




×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Welcome to TST! Signing up is free, and you'll see fewer ads and can talk with fellow golf enthusiasts! By using TST, you agree to our Terms of Use, our Privacy Policy, and our Guidelines.

The popup will be closed in 10 seconds...