Golf Course Management

SEP 2018

Golf Course Management magazine is dedicated to advancing the golf course superintendent profession and helping GCSAA members achieve career success.

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56 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 09.18 standing of why the architect placed a bunker in a location in the first place. Was it to prevent a lost ball and a penalty to help speed up play? Was it to protect an adjacent property? Was it for alignment? Was it for a penalty? Did those little trees finally grow up, and the bunker is now obsolete? You must determine how eliminating a spe - cific bunker will influence playability, as well On a cold day in January 2010, I set out to visit Kerman at his office — fortunately, just 25 miles from Westchester GC — armed with copies of the layout of each hole. My goal was to cut the amount of sand at the course by 50 per - cent. My crew and I were only able to put about half the amount of time into the bunkers as was needed, so we came up with the 50 percent cut in sand based on that observation. Kerman helped me determine which bunkers could go or could be reduced without significantly im - pacting the difficulty of his original design. If you don't have access to the original de - signer, I'd recommend contacting a local golf course architect. Many would be happy to come out and give you a hand in assessing the situation. At a recent turf seminar, two archi - tects kindly offered their assistance with bunker removal should I need it. Prep for removal You have your strategy. Now, where to start? Pick the bunker that causes you the most grief — the one you hate walking into, the one your crew hates. (Ideally, this will be a bunker your golfers aren't fond of either.) Visit the bunker and take photos. It may be a muddy mess thanks to overdue renova - tion, lack of time to fix washouts, or financial restrictions that prevent just getting enough sand in the darn thing, but use your photos to visualize how you'd like the area to look when all is said and done. Adjusting the images in Photoshop or with another photo-editing tool can be helpful. For each bunker slated for elimination, you must decide whether to leave the depression, fill it in flat or mound it. Unless you put a flat spot where a bunker used to be, you'll have slopes to contend with that, when the bunker was ini - tially built, were not intended for golf cart traf- Final sod preparation (top) and sod installation (bottom) for a 2016 bunker removal project on Westchester's fourth fairway. You must determine how eliminating a specific bunker will influence playability, as well as how you want the hole to play without the bunker — harder, easier or the same. • Understand the purpose of the bunker. • Consult a golf course architect. • Determine the desired effect on playability. • Ensure the replacement is lower- maintenance and can be maintained with existing equipment. • Ensure slopes are cart-friendly. Pre-bunker-removal checklist as how you want the hole to play without the bunker — harder, easier or the same. Given that the complexity of the sand shot is being removed, I take other forms of challenge into consideration. (I've replaced a bunker with a mound to obscure the surface of the green, for example, and have increased the height on the green-bordering side of a bunker so the top of the flag isn't visible.)

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