Golf Course Management

AUG 2014

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

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66 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 08.14 5 . Liners, turfgrass and bare(s), oh my! The use of liners under the sand has grown along with the demand for better playing con - ditions. A liner's primary purpose is to pro- tect and prolong the life of the sand and re- duce washouts. Bunker construction typically follows sev - eral basic steps: excavate, add a drain line or a sump and place sand in the bunker on bare dirt. However, it's helpful to review how improve - ments in material and techniques over the last 35 years have impacted bunker construction. • Conventional met od: sand on bare dirt. Occasionally, the conventional method is still used with fat bunkers and inexpensive sand. Expect a shorter life cycle of fve to seven years. I've seen some courses try to reduce improvement costs by placing sod in bunker bottoms. As the sod rots, it's just barely better long-term than sand on bare dirt. • Fabric liners. Numerous materials have been introduced since the early 1980s, and most of them increase the sand's life by reducing contamination. Since most are permeable, Drip irrigation is becoming more popular and is a very affordable way to irrigate steep bunker faces and edges. The lines are easy to install and can function any time during the day without interfering with play. 4 . Edges Bunker edges are as varied as bunker sands. Going into a renovation, the architect, owner and superintendent should all agree on the design and long-term goals for the manage - ment of edges. Whether the team agrees on a shallow lip or a deep edge, the goal should al - ways be to simplify edge maintenance by elim- inating any potential sand contamination. Vertical dirt edges may look great the day the course opens, but they will eventually be - come the biggest challenge to maintaining good bunker sand. A stable thatch or turf edge has proved best when the turf is grown into the bunker sand and maintained in the bunker sand. This technique prevents deep edging into native soil. Bunker edges can change over time if they are not monitored carefully. When con - tamination is eliminated, the sand will remain good for a very long time. Today's golfers expect well-maintained bunkers with uncontaminated sand that stays in place on sloping edges. Photo by Larry Lambrecht/ Vertical dirt edges may look great the day the course opens, but they will eventually become the biggest challenge to maintaining good bunker sand.

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