Nemacolin Blog
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Bring Back The Bunker...

Wouldn’t it be fun to see the greenside bunker really be a hazard again? The way it is now, most top level players would rather be in the banker than on the grass that surrounds it. The shot has become a fairly easy task. The sand is such good texture and so well cared for that a player simply hits a few inches behind the ball and up it goes on the green for a tap-in par! Add to that the 60-degree wedges available now, and the bunker is anything BUT a hazard! Why have bunkers at all if they are not hazards?

Professionals and top amateurs actually aim to get in bunkers when they know they can’t reach or get on a green. This drastically changes course strategy, and bunkers, once regarded as a place NOT to be, have become a safe haven; not to mention the cost of maintaining them for the individual facilities and the time it takes players to rake them.

What if we left them alone? How would golfers handle un-raked, unkempt greenside bunkers? Well I have to believe that area would again be a place to be avoided. Would tour players be firing right at hole locations tucked behind bunkers if they knew it was a mess in there? Would they wail away on a par-5 thinking, “the worst thing that happens is I’m in that bunker”any longer? I don’t think so. Might be fun to see how strategies and scores might change.

Notice I said nothing of the fairway bunker. Fairway bunkers are still enough of a hazard that they are avoided at all cost; (which is the definition of a hazard anyway). Golf course architects still use them to intimidate players on the tee, make them play AWAY from the bunker, not hit AT it! So we continue to rake and maintain those. But let’s bring a herd of buffalo in on Wednesday after the pro am, have them stampede through the greenside bunkers and don’t rake them until Monday morning when the members play again! Only kidding about the buffalo, but I am serious about golf course strategy once again being a part of tournament golf. It would be fun to watch!

Dennis Clark

PGA Master Professional
Nemacolin Woodlands Resort


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