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JerseyThursday

Should golf do away with bunkers?

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...or cut down on them, in a huge way, both on exclusive courses and public courses?

As a person who plays in a league that covers three public courses, I’ve come to realize that the biggest discrepancy between the courses the average golfer plays and the courses players on tour & affluent golfers play is the condition of sand traps. It’s almost like two different sports. Fortunately my home course (which is semi- private, and old -hence, not a ton of monstrous traps) has very nice traps. But, my heart goes out to the guys beating it out of those crusty, half-mud, half-sand beasts every day.

My thoughts:

• The tough economic downturn in golf has really taken its toll on sand traps. Courses on a tight budget, will let the traps go first. If a trap washes out in a bad storm it sometimes will be left in that condition indefinitely. A good sized sand trap that washes out is around $40K to repair (so I’ve been told).

•Recently, it seems every golf architect uses sand traps as their medium of expression. Course finances are paying the price for that extravagance. Look at some of the more classic designs from MacKenzie, Ross, etc. They didn’t design courses with the sand traps being the key visual feature.

• The traps on tour are so perfect and the players so well versed in hitting out of them, its become the opposite of its original intention: a punishment for missing the green. When tour players miss the green they are hoping they go into traps.
Let them play some of the public course traps, I’ve seen over the last few years, and the last thing they would hope for is their ball to go into a sand trap.

Just some food for thought from a grouchy sand trap warrior.

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I think sand traps have their place.

From about 30 yards and in PGA Tour players actually are slightly better at sand shots compared to a shot out of the rough from equal distance.

If I had my choice I think it would be better to minimize fairway bunkers for other forms of hazards and leave bunkers for around the greens. If an amateur gets in a fairway bunker they are pretty much giving up a stroke. They just don't have the contact to deal with the sand. A lie in the rough will actually benefit them more because they can get away with slightly heavy or thin shots out of the rough.

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I’ve come to realize that the biggest discrepancy between the courses the average golfer plays and the courses players on tour & affluent golfers play is the condition of sand traps. It’s almost like two different sports.

You didn't watch any of the PGA, did you? One other thought. Stay out of the bunkers (there's a reason they're defined as hazards) and you won't have a problem. ;-)

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• The tough economic downturn in golf has really taken its toll on sand traps. Courses on a tight budget, will let the traps go first. If a trap washes out in a bad storm it sometimes will be left in that condition indefinitely. A good sized sand trap that washes out is around $40K to repair (so I’ve been told).

That number is way off. Even if every grain of sand washed away it's just the cost of replacement sand plus x number hours labor to shovel up the mess. Where I work they removed all 100+ bunkers, completely rebuilt them, and re-sodded all the green surrounds for around 1.2 mil.

But I agree that course designers need to ease up on the bunkering. There really is no point in putting a bunch of fairway bunkers in places a decent player rarely hit their ball. It just unfairly punishes the high handicapper, slows play, and not worth the upkeep. Placement needs to be more strategic.

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...or cut down on them, in a huge way, both on exclusive courses and public courses?

As a person who plays in a league that covers three public courses, I’ve come to realize that the biggest discrepancy between the courses the average golfer plays and the courses players on tour & affluent golfers play is the condition of sand traps. It’s almost like two different sports. Fortunately my home course (which is semi- private, and old -hence, not a ton of monstrous traps) has very nice traps. But, my heart goes out to the guys beating it out of those crusty, half-mud, half-sand beasts every day.

My thoughts:

• The tough economic downturn in golf has really taken its toll on sand traps. Courses on a tight budget, will let the traps go first. If a trap washes out in a bad storm it sometimes will be left in that condition indefinitely. A good sized sand trap that washes out is around $40K to repair (so I’ve been told).

•Recently, it seems every golf architect uses sand traps as their medium of expression. Course finances are paying the price for that extravagance. Look at some of the more classic designs from MacKenzie, Ross, etc. They didn’t design courses with the sand traps being the key visual feature.

• The traps on tour are so perfect and the players so well versed in hitting out of them, its become the opposite of its original intention: a punishment for missing the green. When tour players miss the green they are hoping they go into traps.

Let them play some of the public course traps, I’ve seen over the last few years, and the last thing they would hope for is their ball to go into a sand trap.

Just some food for thought from a grouchy sand trap warrior.

Should golf do away with greens?

...or cut down on them, in a huge way, both on exclusive courses and public courses?

As a person who plays in a league that covers three public courses, I’ve come to realize that the biggest discrepancy between the courses the average golfer plays and the courses players on tour & affluent golfers play is the condition of the greens. It’s almost like two different sports. Fortunately my home course (which is semi- private, and old -hence, not a ton of monstrous greens) has very nice greens. But, my heart goes out to the guys beating it out of those unmowed, burnt, quarter-grass, quarter-sand, quarter-sunflower seeds, quarter-anthill disasters every day.

My thoughts:

• The tough economic downturn in golf has really taken its toll on greens. Courses on a tight budget will let the greens go first. If a green is overtaken by fungi or bugs sometimes it will be left in that condition indefinitely. A good sized green is over $40K to replace (so I’ve been told).

•Recently, it seems every golf architect uses greens as their medium of expression. Course finances are paying the price for that extravagance. Look at some of the more classic designs from MacKenzie, Ross, etc. They didn’t design courses with the greens having any visual features.

• The greens on tour are so perfect and the players so well versed in putting on them, its become the opposite of its original intention: a place to three-putt bogey. When tour players miss the greens they don't even give a shit because their putt to save par will actually roll the same ten out of ten times with the same stroke.

.
Let them play some of the public course greens, I’ve seen over the last few years, and the last thing they would hope for is their ball to land on the green without rolling into the hole.

Just some food for thought from the grouchy three-putt-bogey king.

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My home course has all the sand traps washed out due to several torrential rains in the last couple of months. the club is almost broke and has no money to repair them. They are all marked now as ground under repair. The truth is it has made little difference. Even without the sand traps the course is plenty difficult and challenging. I still enjoy playing there as much as before.

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Should golf do away with greens?

...or cut down on them, in a huge way, both on exclusive courses and public courses?

As a person who plays in a league that covers three public courses, I’ve come to realize that the biggest discrepancy between the courses the average golfer plays and the courses players on tour & affluent golfers play is the condition of the greens. It’s almost like two different sports. Fortunately my home course (which is semi- private, and old -hence, not a ton of monstrous greens) has very nice greens. But, my heart goes out to the guys beating it out of those unmowed, burnt, quarter-grass, quarter-sand, quarter-sunflower seeds, quarter-anthill disasters every day.

My thoughts:

• The tough economic downturn in golf has really taken its toll on greens. Courses on a tight budget will let the greens go first. If a green is overtaken by fungi or bugs sometimes it will be left in that condition indefinitely. A good sized green is over $40K to replace (so I’ve been told).

•Recently, it seems every golf architect uses greens as their medium of expression. Course finances are paying the price for that extravagance. Look at some of the more classic designs from MacKenzie, Ross, etc. They didn’t design courses with the greens having any visual features.

• The greens on tour are so perfect and the players so well versed in putting on them, its become the opposite of its original intention: a place to three-putt bogey. When tour players miss the greens they don't even give a shit because their putt to save par will actually roll the same ten out of ten times with the same stroke.

.

Let them play some of the public course greens, I’ve seen over the last few years, and the last thing they would hope for is their ball to land on the green without rolling into the hole.

Just some food for thought from the grouchy three-putt-bogey king.

That's just brilliant.

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My home course has all the sand traps washed out due to several torrential rains in the last couple of months. the club is almost broke and has no money to repair them. They are all marked now as ground under repair. The truth is it has made little difference. Even without the sand traps the course is plenty difficult and challenging. I still enjoy playing there as much as before.

That’s my exact point. SAND traps need to be scaled back dramatically. Golf is just as challenging and enjoyable without all the upkeep and cost of sand traps.

FYI, I'm fairly decent at hitting out of sand traps. Decent ones, that is.

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...or cut down on them, in a huge way, both on exclusive courses and public courses?

As a person who plays in a league that covers three public courses, I’ve come to realize that the biggest discrepancy between the courses the average golfer plays and the courses players on tour & affluent golfers play is the condition of sand traps. It’s almost like two different sports. Fortunately my home course (which is semi- private, and old -hence, not a ton of monstrous traps) has very nice traps. But, my heart goes out to the guys beating it out of those crusty, half-mud, half-sand beasts every day.

My thoughts:

• The tough economic downturn in golf has really taken its toll on sand traps. Courses on a tight budget, will let the traps go first. If a trap washes out in a bad storm it sometimes will be left in that condition indefinitely. A good sized sand trap that washes out is around $40K to repair (so I’ve been told).

•Recently, it seems every golf architect uses sand traps as their medium of expression. Course finances are paying the price for that extravagance. Look at some of the more classic designs from MacKenzie, Ross, etc. They didn’t design courses with the sand traps being the key visual feature.

• The traps on tour are so perfect and the players so well versed in hitting out of them, its become the opposite of its original intention: a punishment for missing the green. When tour players miss the green they are hoping they go into traps.

Let them play some of the public course traps, I’ve seen over the last few years, and the last thing they would hope for is their ball to go into a sand trap.

Just some food for thought from a grouchy sand trap warrior.

Bunkers are hazards, and there is no logical reason why they shouldn't play as such.  I play a course with no bunkers, and in my opinion it lacks an important dimension.  There is literally never a real penalty for playing a poor approach shot.  No fairway bunkers catch even an occasional bad drive.  It makes the course simply less fun to play, less challenging, and as a result I often lose focus when playing there.

I don't think that they need to dominate the landscape, but they are none the less an important feature on any halfway decent course.  The key to playing poorly maintained bunkers, like any bunker, is to practice in them.  I've played  in all sorts of bunkers, from pristine fluffy white sand to half hard pan (or half mud when it rains), and all are what they are intended to be - hazards which can cost a half to a full stroke for the average player.

The nice fluffy sand promotes fried egg and embedded lies, while the hard pan bunker with very little sand often lets the ball run right through, or leaves an easy pick to chip out of.  It all balances out in the end.

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If sand traps were removed from golf courses what would happen to the sandtrap forum? :) I am a total golf nutt. So much so that I actually read golf design books. In them the architect explains the many uses of bunkers. Some of which do not involve being hazards. I forget all the terms but some are used as site lines, defining the shape of a green, and collection bunkers that actually save an errant tee shot from going out of bounds.

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Bunkers are hazards, and there is no logical reason why they shouldn't play as such.  I play a course with no bunkers, and in my opinion it lacks an important dimension.  There is literally never a real penalty for playing a poor approach shot.  No fairway bunkers catch even an occasional bad drive.  It makes the course simply less fun to play, less challenging, and as a result I often lose focus when playing there.

I don't think that they need to dominate the landscape, but they are none the less an important feature on any halfway decent course.  The key to playing poorly maintained bunkers, like any bunker, is to practice in them.  I've played  in all sorts of bunkers, from pristine fluffy white sand to half hard pan (or half mud when it rains), and all are what they are intended to be - hazards which can cost a half to a full stroke for the average player.

The nice fluffy sand promotes fried egg and embedded lies, while the hard pan bunker with very little sand often lets the ball run right through, or leaves an easy pick to chip out of.  It all balances out in the end.

What about Riverview? That is arguably the most poorly maintained course I have ever seen, the bunkers are pathetic. Some so nondescript from lack of care you can barely tell they are bunkers. Can't remember if it's hole one or ten but there was a large fairway bunker on the left that hadn't been attended to in years last time I was there.

Anyway I hate public course bunkers. The lies are death and typically unfair. Often a two stroke up tick just getting out greenside. Never know what you will find in there. Ball on the rake maybe. Chunk of earth from the previous dolts path in or out yeah it can happen. Poorly raked and full of pock marks for sure. Inconsistent texture because your $32 green fees don't cover pristine sand year in and out without a doubt.

I play away from bunkers like an idiot on the chance it could mean playing out of it. I know what is in there and it disrupts how the course could play. It's not risk reward but just risk due to the uneven consequences. When I practice in bunkers I rake to the way it should be. Not once have I ever found my ball on that lie in a trampled bunker. Just sayin' most courses in the sub $100 fee range have shit sand.

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One other point about reducing/eliminating sand traps would be pace of play.

I don't want to be rid of sand traps, but the economic points are real.  One solution is to make more shallow bunkers, which are less penal and cheaper to maintain since they don't wash out as often.

BTW, the biggest change I've noticed since the golf slowdown is the rough.  Courses simply don't cut their rough as often.  Nowhere has this been more evident to me than Myrtle Beach.  Short bermuda rough is wonderful.  Your ball sits on it like a tee.  But when the length gets to a certain point, bermuda becomes US Open to most amateur players.

Greens have been pretty good, IMO.  The improvements in agronomy have outpaced the lowering budgets.

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Think about how much money it would save the average golfer! Noone would need a sandwedge anymore.

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Fourputt

Bunkers are hazards, and there is no logical reason why they shouldn't play as such.  I play a course with no bunkers, and in my opinion it lacks an important dimension.  There is literally never a real penalty for playing a poor approach shot.  No fairway bunkers catch even an occasional bad drive.  It makes the course simply less fun to play, less challenging, and as a result I often lose focus when playing there.

I don't think that they need to dominate the landscape, but they are none the less an important feature on any halfway decent course.  The key to playing poorly maintained bunkers, like any bunker, is to practice in them.  I've played  in all sorts of bunkers, from pristine fluffy white sand to half hard pan (or half mud when it rains), and all are what they are intended to be - hazards which can cost a half to a full stroke for the average player.

The nice fluffy sand promotes fried egg and embedded lies, while the hard pan bunker with very little sand often lets the ball run right through, or leaves an easy pick to chip out of.  It all balances out in the end.

What about Riverview? That is arguably the most poorly maintained course I have ever seen, the bunkers are pathetic. Some so nondescript from lack of care you can barely tell they are bunkers. Can't remember if it's hole one or ten but there was a large fairway bunker on the left that hadn't been attended to in years last time I was there.

Anyway I hate public course bunkers. The lies are death and typically unfair. Often a two stroke up tick just getting out greenside. Never know what you will find in there. Ball on the rake maybe. Chunk of earth from the previous dolts path in or out yeah it can happen. Poorly raked and full of pock marks for sure. Inconsistent texture because your $32 green fees don't cover pristine sand year in and out without a doubt.

I play away from bunkers like an idiot on the chance it could mean playing out of it. I know what is in there and it disrupts how the course could play. It's not risk reward but just risk due to the uneven consequences. When I practice in bunkers I rake to the way it should be. Not once have I ever found my ball on that lie in a trampled bunker. Just sayin' most courses in the sub $100 fee range have shit sand.

Doesn't bother me in the least.  I've played public my whole life, and I take what comes.  Riverview's bunkers are far from the being the worst I've played.  I don't complain, I just play golf.  To be honest, I find fluffy sand like Fossil Trace bunkers to be much more difficult to  play from, maybe because I haven't had as much experience with it.

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I think sand traps have their place.

From about 30 yards and in PGA Tour players actually are slightly better at sand shots compared to a shot out of the rough from equal distance.

If I had my choice I think it would be better to minimize fairway bunkers for other forms of hazards and leave bunkers for around the greens. If an amateur gets in a fairway bunker they are pretty much giving up a stroke. They just don't have the contact to deal with the sand. A lie in the rough will actually benefit them more because they can get away with slightly heavy or thin shots out of the rough.

And then some idiot decides to plant a tree blocking the only shot to the green making it a chip out onto the fairway when the tree grows to maturity. And with just the right kind of lips on it, it can turn into a disaster.

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Absolutely not. Sand traps are a hazard to be avoided. Play the ball where you find it, after you hit it. Next thing would be to get rid of water hazards, then trees, rocks and other hazards.  Do all that, and it really would be cow pasture pool..

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Did I read somewhere that the bunker has its origins in the early scottish courses. Bunkers were just depressions in the ground which pastured animals used to protect themselves from the ocean storms.

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I think sand traps have their place.

From about 30 yards and in PGA Tour players actually are slightly better at sand shots compared to a shot out of the rough from equal distance.

If I had my choice I think it would be better to minimize fairway bunkers for other forms of hazards and leave bunkers for around the greens. If an amateur gets in a fairway bunker they are pretty much giving up a stroke. They just don't have the contact to deal with the sand. A lie in the rough will actually benefit them more because they can get away with slightly heavy or thin shots out of the rough.

Strangely enough, because of my particular swing flaws, playing from fairway bunkers hasn't really been overly difficult for me since I tend to pick the ball clean on full swings. What I do have significant problems with are near green or green side bunkers which play like cement and/or have lots of rocks in them. Normal or even decently maintained bunkers, I have minimal trouble with. *Relatively speaking of course, meaning I can get the ball out and on the green a majority of the time* The problem is, there are almost no courses around my area, that I play, that have bunkers that are even minimally maintained. The main course I play even went so far as to remove the sand and put sod in most of theirs. This still allows for a somewhat penal lie if you put it in where the trap used to be because it's still in the shape of a bowl and you can end up with a severe upslope/downslope/sideslope or any combination of these lies. I guess what I mean, in short, is I don't mind bunkers at all if they are maintained, but with the state that they tend to be for most public courses it would be better if they were just turned into grass bunkers.

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Note: This thread is 1777 days old. We appreciate that you found this thread instead of starting a new one, but if you plan to post here please make sure it's still relevant. If not, please start a new topic. Thank you!

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