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Thread: Maintaining Bunker

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    Amateur TripleF's Avatar
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    Maintaining Bunker

    The course I belong to has a fun, challenging layout that has hosted many big college tournaments in years past but not recently. The greens are in okay shape but our bunkers are in terrible condition.

    • It looks like the bunkers are filled with fairly course construction sand and they always seem to need new sand. Even when dry, the sand is far from fluffy.
    • After rains, many of the bunkers hold water for days.
    • They mechanically rake the bunkers when the bunkers aren't wet, but the tines only rake about 1" deep. Under that . . . the bunkers are like concrete!


    I've talked with our PGA pro who tells me the equipment they have only rakes this depth as its maximum. Sounds crazy to me but I know nothing about course maintenance equipment or the proper way to maintain a course's bunkers.

    Our course has a ton of bunkers so I'm sure bunker maintenance is expensive and, like so many courses, money is a scarce commodity and the course owner likely is not interested in making the course great like it used to be . . . just wants it good enough to make a little money.

    Suggestions and thoughts PLEASE!
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    I can relate to the lack of bunker maintenance. Not only are the bunkers at my course filled with inconsistent stuff (would not be fair to call it sand), but they are only properly maintenanced right before the 2 big tournaments each year that my course hosts.
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    There are some that would argue that a perfectly maintained bunker is no longer a hazard. That being said, I have been to courses locally that have little pebbles on top and hard pan mud underneath that. Safe to say, I drop behind the bunker in the rough instead of damaging clubs.
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    This seems to be a common occurrence at courses across the spectrum. Here in El Paso our bunkers are not maintained the way they should nor do they have any consistency from hole-to-hole (thick, fluffy, hard pan, rocky) best to stay away at all costs. Waste bunkers in this area are the worst...golf ball sized rocks with little if any sand. Needless to say that forged clubs do not fair well in the desert. A big reason for the inconsistency is that the winds here tend to blow a lot of the sand out of the bunkers into the surrounding area. This gets expensive for a course to continually refill. No one in the area as found the right sand mixture that will not blow out.
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    Bunkers are expensive to maintain, but man crappy bunkers are very frustrating. Id rather have a plugged lie in decent sand than some of the crap Ive seen in bunkers.
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    Major Champion ntanygd760's Avatar
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    Not enough sand sucks but fine as long as I know. Too much sand affects the score more when any shot from 6 iron to wedge plugs
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    I don’t know why courses don’t lean heavier on grass bunkers; why bother with sand if you aren’t going to be able to afford the maintenance? A grass bunker afford a nearly Evie Alene challenge for most recreational golfers.
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    Quote Originally Posted by JayB View Post
    I don’t know why courses don’t lean heavier on grass bunkers; why bother with sand if you aren’t going to be able to afford the maintenance? A grass bunker afford a nearly Evie Alene challenge for most recreational golfers.
    Was going to say nearly the same thing. Sand traps are expensive to build and tough to maintain at most courses. At Painted it seemed like it would rain and take the small grounds crew days to get the 30 bunkers back in shape (even tougher when it was a downpour, which really washed out the traps) and then it would always seem to rain a day or two after they finished and they would have to do it all over agin.
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    Amateur TripleF's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smallville View Post
    Was going to say nearly the same thing. Sand traps are expensive to build and tough to maintain at most courses. At Painted it seemed like it would rain and take the small grounds crew days to get the 30 bunkers back in shape (even tougher when it was a downpour, which really washed out the traps) and then it would always seem to rain a day or two after they finished and they would have to do it all over agin.
    At our course they have this attachment on the back of a small tractor that has these "tines" that they drive through the bunker to "bust up" the rain-packed sand. But the tines only bust up about 1" deep. Grass bunkers make better sense to me . . . especially for the fairway bunkers.
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    #Centurions Smallville's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TripleF View Post
    At our course they have this attachment on the back of a small tractor that has these "tines" that they drive through the bunker to "bust up" the rain-packed sand. But the tines only bust up about 1" deep. Grass bunkers make better sense to me . . . especially for the fairway bunkers.
    I am talking more about the rain washing the sand away than it packing it down. They can look like miniature canyons in there after a good hard pouring down of rain.
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    Major Champion tucsoncacti's Avatar
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    I honestly wish that courses that have a hard time maining bunkers convert them to grass bunkers. Nothing wrong with that IMHO. Well placed grass bunkers can be more difficult thatn sand bunkers.
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    Quote Originally Posted by tucsoncacti View Post
    I honestly wish that courses that have a hard time maining bunkers convert them to grass bunkers. Nothing wrong with that IMHO. Well placed grass bunkers can be more difficult thatn sand bunkers.
    I agree 100% One of the courses around here who opened before real estate crash finally started converting half to grass. They had an absurd amount, probably 100 and just couldn't maintain them. Bunkers are so expensive to build and maintain. I don't think grass mounds, bunkers take away from a course.
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    The course I play the most has a few inches of sand over some sort of netting then topsoil underneath. The netting is held in place by plastic stakes. Sometimes the sand is thin over top of the stakes, and they lurk just under the surface. Last year my ball happened to come to rest right on top of one. I swung and my club was stopped instantly by the stake. I guess I should be glad that I didnt hurt myself or damage my sand wedge.

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