As the new year begun we have continued with work on the bunkers. Last week it was on Trillo’s Torment with the green side bunker being reconstructed. We have now created 2 pot bunkers where before there had been one large bunker. The new bunkers will catch wayward shots just as the previous bunker did, the difference with a much smaller sand area, means reduced maintenance from washed out and wind blown sand. The work will be completed this week and we will then be ready to begin the next bunker.
I feel it is a good time to again outline the reason for the changes being made to the bunkers. The condition of the bunkers here at Hunley has never been to the standard that we would like for a number of reasons, so 4 years ago we put in a plan for improvements to be made. The problems were as follows –
- Most bunkers were frequently flooded, with many taking several days to drain off. This led to an enormous effort from the Greenkeepers to get them back in play, often only for them to again become flooded.
- Too many bunkers, all with large sand areas. 4 years ago there were 82 bunkers but the bunkers were also very large and as a result, the resources required to maintain them was also large.
- Some bunkers poorly positioned. Some of the bunkers were in areas that were too penal (such as the 1 in front of Fox Covert green, penalising a straight shot!), some have been too close to the tee (eg, on Short’s Elbow, with 2 less than 170 from the tee) and some of them really too far from play to have any strategic value (eg, on Boulby View).
So what have we been doing to improve the situation?
- First, we began to remodel them to divert water away, preventing wash out and flooding from occurring.
- Then drainage has either been repaired or added, so to remove water quickly when they do become flooded.
- Several bunkers have been removed to reduce their number to more manageable levels. There are now currently 63.
- The sand area has been reduced. Catchment area for balls is still about the same though, with the ground around the bunkers landscaped to feed a misguided shot into the sand.
What does this mean?
- We will have top quality bunkers in good condition on a daily basis.
- Less bunkers, with less sand, washing out less and flooding less, will mean they can be raked more, checked for sand more and weeded more. Meaning their condition can and will only get better.
So finally how will they look, as they are a distinctly different style now as before?
- The best way to demonstrate this is with pictures (see below), but the new style resembles bunkers found on traditional courses and in particular seaside links. The previous style was more artificial and in the style of American courses such as Augusta.
Thanks and have a good week!
Here’s a fairway bunker on the Castle course at St Andrews, which is of a more rugged and natural style. Our fairway bunkers are going to be more like this going forwards and you will begin to notice this more this season.
A typical pot bunker and most of our green side bunkers are now constructed in this way.
This bunker at Augusta National is how the majority of the bunkers used to be. This picture really demonstrates how labour intensive they are!