Saturday, August 1, 2015

Bunker Maintenance and Etiquette

Bunkers on golf courses have come a long way from when they were simply hallows dug out by sheep and other livestock trying to escape the stinging sand driven by the winds off the Scottish coast.

In today's world of golf course maintenance, bunkers have taken on a whole different meaning.  Bunkers are considered a hazard but for many golf course superintendents they consume the most time and money from their budgets, just behind greens.  In many cases good golfers, especially professional golfers, will aim at the bunkers because they are almost assured of a close to perfect lie or at least one that is relatively consistent and predictable.

 Along with the daily maintenance performed on bunkers including blowing out leaves and debris and raking the bunkers, there is also the special work that has to be done including removing water and silt after storms, pushing back up washouts, adding new sand, packing the sand, or complete rebuild of bunkers when needed.  There is also the maintenance of the turf surrounding the bunkers that has to be done as well.

This week the agronomy staff spent two days in the hot sun flymowing the faces of the bunkers, edging the lips, pulling/removing grass runners from the edges, blowing out the bunkers and packing and raking the bunkers to get them back in the shape they should be and golfers expect/demand today.

So after all the work and expense put into preparing the bunkers the way golfers demand it is extremely frustrating and disheartening to find bunkers left in this condition by the very golfers demanding pristine playing conditions.  If you are a golfer it is your responsibility under the rules of golf, and simply common courtesy, to leave the surface as close to the condition that you find it for your fellow golfers following you.  Golf course maintenance teams all around the world do their best each day to provide the best playing conditions possible but you, the golfer, also have a part to play in the success or failure of the course you play.

Please do your part and rake your tracks out of the bunkers, fix your ball marks on the greens, fill your divots on tees and in fairways, put your trash in the trash cans, ect. In general, treat the golf course as if you own it and want it to be the best it can possibly be each and every day.

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