Bunker Consistnecy, Good or Bad??
By Patrick S. Knelly GCS
It’s been a crazy summer, no question! I’ve taken a break from my blogging duties, but the days are getting shorter, the temps getting cooler and the turf (and my staff!) are starting to recover from one of the more difficult summer seasons in my memory. While I plan to get into some of the struggles we faced this season in detail later this month, I want to take this time to blast out some thoughts on our recently completed bunker re-filling project.
Maybe you noticed, maybe you didn’t, but we added somewhere in the neighborhood of 150 tons of sand to the OLD bunkers on the front 9 of Sugarloaf Golf Club this July. It was a major undertaking, and my staff and I worked our tails off to re-fill the bunkers to a playable depth (4-5″) on holes 2-9. There were some bunkers on the course that had less than one inch of sand, and
sand, and also the sand will continue to “set-up” and become slightly more firm with time. So, I hope that these factors alleviate some of these complaints as time goes forward.
Second, I think a short discussion on “bunkers” as “hazards” is probably appropriate. I hate to sound inconsiderate to the plight of the golfer who finds themselves in a bunker, but please keep in mind, a bunker is a Hazard. A hazard is designed to provide a penalty, and they are integral components of a well designed golf hole. Our bunkering provides protection/penalty to some of our less difficult holes, and act as a major factor in the design of our beautiful course. If they were meant to be easy, they would not be named “traps”, “bunkers”, or “hazards”? In my personal opinion consistency is not something we should strive for, a bunker is meant to be fair, but it is also meant to be a penalty to those who hit into them. I feel that should you find your ball in a hazard, part of the penalty is not knowing exactly how you ball will react. I’m sure many will not agree with my opinion, but I feel golf course architecture is meant to be penal at times and bunkers are part of what makes golf a challenging yet unpredictable sport. Maybe we need to re-evaluate where the fault lies, and consider the possiblility that it was a bad shot that lead us into the “bunker” and we deserve to reap what we sow…..
Feel free to let me know your feelings on this subject!