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Golf Course Bunker Updates, Westchester Golf Course

3-19-18 Bunkers are a sore spot.

When this article came out I was asked if I wrote it.   The reason was I had been preaching since 2001 this is what we needed to do to cut costs.  This article tells you how to make your course unaffordable, I started doing the opposite of this before the article was written in 2015 but it is still valid today.

Bunkers are a sore spot with just about everyone.  The golfers hate hitting into them & playing (or attempting to hit ) out of them.  Maintenance hates to rake them and fix them after a rain.  They hate hearing the golfers complain about the conditioning whether it is wet sand, dry sand, too much sand, not enough sand, grass around the sand.  Owners and GM’s hate the cost of them, installing, maintaining them, removing them.

Consequently, I have been removing bunkers since 2001 after discussing it with our course architect.  I have about 20 or so more to renovate and reduce to our updated design specifically geared for ease of maintenance meaning low or no flash-ups and under 1 acre of sand.

Our original build had 73 bunkers 2.02 acres of sand.  With the average lifespan of a bunker being 7 years maximum, we need to replace sand in 10 bunkers per year and add sand to the rest in perpetuity.  With the 1520 ton of sand to build them we would need 220 ton of sand per year or 10 truckloads at $750.00 per load to keep them in fair to good condition.

Lets add labor, drain tile, pea gravel, fuel, any special rental equipment and we would be about $40-50K per year to kick sand around in a depression that no one likes and creates more depression when you land in one. So away they go and to find out what ones are slated for repair this year check the 2018 bunker renovation projection.

Oh, by the way we started by needing 357 bunker rakes around the 73 bunkers.  With a cost of $9.75 each we had $3480.75 plus tax lying around the course.  At least now we are down to 205.

Mark Novotny CGCS



2 thoughts on “3-19-18 Bunkers are a sore spot.

  1. Bunkers have always been part of playing golf. If you don’t like being in them don’t hit your ball that direction. Right? Or, go play Putt Putt. If, management complains about upkeep why the “H” did they have them put in to start with? Geezz!


    Posted by Old Bill | March 19, 2018, 6:24 pm
    • At the time the course was designed and built, bunkers were just another part of maintenance. But labor was $5.00 per hour and sand was $3.00 a ton delivered and greens fees were $46.00 as a standard. It is no longer the case, the costs have gone through the roof.
      Owners approve the overall architect design to reach an overall goal. We were designed with the “Central Ohio’s first Public Country Club” plan in mind. Since building the economy has gone down significantly and the golfing public just doesn’t support the high end courses like in the early 90’s. Because of that we have to look at what will reduce costs without significantly decreasing the golfers experience and the designers/owner’s vision.
      Bunkers get reduced or removed because the cost has increased but we just can’t stop mowing fairways to save money, the golfers just wouldn’t return.


      Posted by tghrs | March 20, 2018, 4:36 pm

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