The options we have are to do all or some of the following:-
- Increase our resources - more manpower – volunteer, staff or contractors
- Increase the effectiveness of our resources – machinery etc
- Decrease the amount of bunkers we have so that more maintenance can be done on the remaining.
- Alter the balance of how our resources are applied eg more on bunkers less on greens, fairways or rough
Doing other work on the bunkers, more sand (not the answer it would appear to be) , fixing up drainage will help but these will once again draw funds from the course budget.
Our bunkers, 9 in total, when freshly maintained are, in my view, appropriate for a course of our standard. The problem we have is that we have insufficient resources to ‘work over’ the bunkers more frequently. A second issue is that it takes time to recover from a major weather event and get the bunkers back into play – this second issue is less in magnitude than the first.
Could we remove bunkers ? Over the years bunkers have come and gone. Fairway bunkers on the 16th and 10th have been removed. The bunker on the rhs of the 3rd green has appeared and disappeared over the years. Greenside bunkers on the 16th appeared and then were filled in. The construction or reconstruction of a bunker is an expensive proposition. Many of our bunkers have defects in the design or have developed problems. None of the bunkers we have, have a fully functioning drainage system. Pollution by soils carried into the bunkers by runoff or carried in by wind is normal.
If our resources are fixed then I would support the removal of bunkers and refurbishment of the remainder. I think we have to decide which way we want to go. Leave the bunkers as they are or change. We can only change the standard of the bunkers if we change something else, eg R&M (repairs and maintenance) and/or deletion of some and/or spending more money on refurbishment.
The subject is current at the Match and Greens' committee meetings.
Finally I leave you with this quote :-
Should minimal bunker maintenance become an economic necessity, there is a simple solution for golfers who feel they deserve a perfect lie in a hazard. Abandon the Rules of Golf and pick up the ball, pack and rake your lie in the bunker to your satisfaction, and replace the ball on your carefully prepared surface. My guess is that you won’t see your sand-save percentage improve in the slightest, but maybe it will reduce the whining.
Jim Moore. Director of the Green Section’s Construction Education Program USGA
for the complete article from Jim click here