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Bunker Sand - Firm or Soft?

Bunker Sand  

43 members have voted

  1. 1. I prefer bunker sand that is…

    • firm.
      10
    • medium.
      23
    • soft.
      10
  2. 2. Most of the bunkers I play are…

    • too soft.
      11
    • just right.
      5
    • too firm.
      27


45 posts in this topic Last Reply

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1 hour ago, iacas said:

Well that's kinda dumb, no? Why would you think I'd have a poll option that is "unplayable"? If "firm" == "unplayable" then by extension "soft" probably == "unplayable" too and everyone should vote "medium." That'd be a dumb poll, no? :-)

Firm is like most PGA Tour bunkers. Very playable. The most playable, IMO.

Lol fair point. I guess if I had to qualify it, unplayable = hard, and I prefer firm over soft. I can't say I have firsthand knowledge of how a PGA Tour bunker is.

1 hour ago, iacas said:

I don't, really… they're hazards. They're supposed to be difficult. I wish they were inconsistent on the PGA Tour, in fact. They don't play like hazards to them.

They're difficult enough for the average weekend golfer in ideal conditions. Forget about it if you hit three bunkers and it's like Goldilocks out there. 

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3 hours ago, iacas said:

I don't mean firm like 1/4" of sand and then the concrete-like lining, but a good firm sand, with a nice base beats a fluffy bunker every day of the week and twice on Sunday.

Wish I had seen your clarification here before I voted. My vote was that bunkers were "too firm," but I was talking about bunkers with thin sand atop the liner, or bunkers with dirt pollution from soil eroding into the sand.

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4 hours ago, iacas said:

Firm sand is the best because it's the easiest to control the ball flight, it's the most predictable, etc.

I don't mean firm like 1/4" of sand and then the concrete-like lining, but a good firm sand, with a nice base beats a fluffy bunker every day of the week and twice on Sunday.

Fluffy bunkers are favored by people with poor bunker technique, in my experience, because they can just shove the club down 4" behind the ball and it'll come out "okay."

This is exactly how I feel.  My bunker technique is poor...primarily because I don't get to practice it very much.  That being said, I prefer fluffier sand because I feel like I can get the ball out easier.  However, most of the courses I play on have very firm sand(probably the worst kind like you describe.)  Your analysis is dead on accurate with the skill set of the golfers.  I really need to have about a year of lessons just working on bunker play.  

 

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9 minutes ago, WUTiger said:

Wish I had seen your clarification here before I voted. My vote was that bunkers were "too firm," but I was talking about bunkers with thin sand atop the liner, or bunkers with dirt pollution from soil eroding into the sand.

So change your vote.

Again, "firm" just means firm, not "a thin layer of sand on top of the liner."

That's ridiculous. That's not a bunker. That's a travesty.

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Ok. Remove my post altogether then, because there are a lot of bunkers that have hardly any sand around here, even at some high-end courses such as San Juan Oaks or Eagle Ridge, in Northern CA.

Both of those are supposed to redo their bunkers completely "soon". In the case of SJO, it's been "soon" for 2 years! They even tell you to treat them as GUR if you don't like them. Not just one or a few specific bunkers as the rules allow, but all (as no local rule is permitted to do...)

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5 hours ago, sjduffers said:

Ok. Remove my post altogether then, because there are a lot of bunkers that have hardly any sand around here, even at some high-end courses such as San Juan Oaks or Eagle Ridge, in Northern CA.

Both of those are supposed to redo their bunkers completely "soon". In the case of SJO, it's been "soon" for 2 years! They even tell you to treat them as GUR if you don't like them. Not just one or a few specific bunkers as the rules allow, but all (as no local rule is permitted to do...)

This could be seen as a reason to discontinue sand bunkers on all but private and resort courses! Bunker construction, maintenance, and reconstruction are very expensive! Mill Creek just spent a quarter of a million dollars just to re-do the "greenside" bunkers on the South 18. And there are a hell of a lot more bunkers than those!

I've seen many courses where money was an issue just let the bunkers grow in. The better of them kill the weeds with Round Up or whatever, and put down grass seed!

Might be a little OT, but I believe it's germane to the game as a whole.

 

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I voted Soft and Firm. 

That's probably because of the crap courses I play where Firm means hard. I have a hard time commiting to the shot when it's that hard, can't decide if I should just hit it like a pitch off of hard pan, make a real bunker swing or just use a putting stroke with a high loft club. Usually the result is trying to do all 3 at once and then having to try again. Ha ha. At least with a soft sand I can just make a big ass swing and scoop a bucket of sand with the ball and get out. 

Edited by Ernest Jones

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On 11/19/2017 at 5:08 PM, iacas said:

I voted "firm" and "too soft."

Me too.  I even like wet sand that is a little bit packed. :-)

My local 9 holer is a nice little course, always in great shape, especially for being out in the boondocks, but it has zero bunkers.  It was an informed decision to not include them  when the course was last updated, simply because of the added maintenance costs.  The course survives on a year to year thread, and something as seemingly small as a half dozen bunkers might have tipped the balance sheet the wrong way.

Edited by Fourputt

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I prefer soft greenside bunker sand, and firm fairway bunker sand. Since that's not an option on the poll, I'll go with firm sand because I tend to be in fairway bunkers more than greenside bunkers.

Most of the courses I play have okay sand, but there's normally not enough of it.

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I voted soft, because too often I bounce my wedge behind the ball with firm sand. I think its because of a shallow plane, but I am far from qualified to say. That's for a green side shot, in the fairway the firmer the better. 

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6 minutes ago, Papa Steve 55 said:

I voted soft, because too often I bounce my wedge behind the ball with firm sand. I think its because of a shallow plane, but I am far from qualified to say. That's for a green side shot, in the fairway the firmer the better. 

You're hitting too far behind the ball, is all.

https://twitter.com/iacas/status/929848301658296321

 

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I voted medium/too firm although it would be more accurate to say modicum/too little.  As long as there is sand, in the sand trap, I'm okay with it.  

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I voted firm and too firm. I like firm bunkers, but where I play the bunkers are not filled with sand at all. Just a bit (1/4 inch) of very small grit and hardpan underneath.

After trying different things (if possible a putt is the best way) I manage to get out of it with open clubface, but allmost allways the ball goes 8-10 yards. An explosion shot with more sand and less distance is impossible. I rather have a chip just over that kind of bunkers, than be in the bunker.

But I like these bunkers more then the ones with too much sand in it. At certain courses the greenkeepers just shovel a bulkload of sand in it, they should be punished severly for that! 

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Is there an option for irregular?  I still haven't gotten to the point where I can look at a bunker lie and figure out with good regularity if there's sand underneath the ball.  When there is, but there isn't too much (so I guess I don't like "too soft"?) under it, I hit decently good sand shots.  Not "I'm always going to make the save" shots, but enough that I'm confident I'll hit it to within a likely two putt -- something I'm just fine with.

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On 11/20/2017 at 2:06 PM, iacas said:

So change your vote.

Again, "firm" just means firm, not "a thin layer of sand on top of the liner."

That's ridiculous. That's not a bunker. That's a travesty.

At my home course, there often isn't even the thin layer of sand. It's just rock hard concrete.

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I prefer sand that is medium I guess. I have trouble with real soft, fine sand because I am not as consistent with how far I hit behind the ball. I think soft sand is less forgiving. I work to play a sand shot similar to a pitch shot, but with lower hands as my Evolvr instructors and Erik have taught me. 

My league course has medium sand on the course, but very soft sand in the practice area. My home course has medium sand but no practice area. It's odd, but I never seem to get into the bunkers at my home course. I think I just jinxed myself! :-P

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