Bunkers are, by definition, hazards and are meant to present a challenge. However, the number of bunkers and their design will impact on pace of play. If a course is considered to be excessively bunkered, either in terms of their number or their severity, it is recommended that a review of the course be undertaken by a qualified course architect to determine what, if any, measures need to be taken to address this issue.
If bunkers are small, with steep faces, it becomes harder to extricate the ball, and this means that it will take longer to play. With reference to greenside bunkers, if it is hard for less skilled players to get the ball out of these bunkers, there is also a strong likelihood that even when they do succeed in extricating the ball, it may be difficult to stop the ball on the green.
The challenge presented by a bunker can be reduced without making it easy. Slightly lowering the height of the face, providing a gentler face angle or enlarging the bunker slightly to allow more room to swing the club all increase the chances of players being able to get the ball out of the bunker. In addition, ensuring that the bunkers are prepared in such a way that a ball generally comes to rest away from the sides and faces of the bunkers will reduce the number of occasions when the ball is left in the bunker. This can be done by ensuring that the floor of the bunker is shaped in such a manner that when sand is introduced it can be prepared so that it is reasonably firm and slopes down towards the centre of the bunker
If there are bunkers on the course that come into play only for high handicap golfers, clubs may wish to consider whether it is necessary to retain the bunkers..
easier said than done!
Happy golfing! Stay tuned for our next exciting extract,
Lisa, GFGC ctte