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Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Bunkers on most courses?
« Reply #25 on: September 14, 2023, 03:40:09 AM »
I never played a bunkerless course that couldn't be improved with bunkers. Bunkerless courses are perfect for showing how a small number of bunkers (10-15) can be efficient and effective. We need to remember that often times courses are not bunkerless by choice. Building a bunkerless course these days would likely be more about a marketing gimmick than an architectural choice.

Ciao
New plays planned for 2023: Clyne

Ken Moum

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Bunkers on most courses?
« Reply #26 on: September 14, 2023, 04:33:10 AM »
I am not advocating elimination of bunkers but in many cases there is merit for less of them.  A wind swept sand covered mound or sand filled hollow looks great on the links course, a blowout bunker at a place like Sand Hills looks awesome especially when you see dozens of others off the course in the surrounding landscape, but a pit of white sand in the middle of an acre or two of manicured green grass - you tell me?



Being about 3/4 of the way through a 2-month holiday in Scotland, bunkers and their effect on scoring are certainly at the front of my mind.  And the fact that there are virtually none of them that look like what you described above is interesting.   Even on places like Tarbat Golf Club and Reay Golf Club where the budget is a tiny fraction of, say, Royal Dornoch, they manage to revet pretty much every one.


It doesn't take many of that kind of bunker to impact the play of a hole.  Of course there's also the difference in attitude about golf between Scots and Americans.  I said a few years ago on here that Americans, and Tour pros, think of golf as a test of skill, while Scots see it a test character.  This trip I've talked to a few Scots about that, and they generally agree.  It's the old fairness issue, IMHO. They just don't seem to be bothered by holes/hazards that border on being impossible to negotiate.


Given the difference, I have had a preference for grass hollows, with short or long grass around the green, and grass hollows with longish grass on fairways.


My preference is simple, I think longer grass in hollows around the green bedevils the best players because they make it harder to control spin while bad players like having the cushion under the ball.  The difference between that and a bunker is really noticeable in the groups I play with that are mostly seniors with handicaps in the mid teens and higher. They NEVER hope a ball goes in a bunker.


And we've all seen Doak's theory about using short grass as a hazard.  Which I agree with for the same reasons.  "My guys" will putt almost every time from there, while better players have to make some decisions, which often seems to baffle them.


In the end, anything that makes golf simpler for bad golfers and more complex for really good ones is ideal in my world.
Over time, the guy in the ideal position derives an advantage, and delivering him further  advantage is not worth making the rest of the players suffer at the expense of fun, variety, and ultimately cost -- Jeff Warne, 12-08-2010

Thomas Dai

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Bunkers on most courses?
« Reply #27 on: September 14, 2023, 06:36:53 AM »
..... anything that makes golf simpler for bad golfers and more complex for really good ones is ideal in my world.
Nicely put Ken.
Enjoy the rest of your trip.
atb

Mark_Fine

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Bunkers on most courses?
« Reply #28 on: September 14, 2023, 09:18:38 AM »
Ken,
No question that most “natural looking” sand hazards on links courses have evolved to become formal and well defined.  As you say a revetted face doesn’t look natural at all.  Such is the evolution of bunkers and so much for most anything on a golf course looking “natural”.  Maybe the most natural looking aspect of a golf course (at least it can be) is the topography and the natural undulations of the land that are undisturbed. 


Getting back to bunkers; probably only a few here have played a bunkerless course but most all of us have played a bunkerless hole.  On my latest project, we will actually end up with at least two of them.  Don’t know about you but when I come across a hole without bunkers I still am always thinking “is something missing” and should it have at least one bunker to make it a proper golf hole.  This is that mindset for most of us about golf courses always being associated with bunkers. Many times on a well designed hole without bunkers I walk away thinking, that hole was really interesting and it didn’t need any.  I am hoping those who play the bunkerless holes on my current renovation will feel the same.  The question remains; how many architects are creative enough with all the other kinds of formal and informal hazards available on their design pallet to routinely build 18 of them?  And how willing are golfers to accept it?  Likely we will never know. 

Thomas Dai

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Bunkers on most courses?
« Reply #29 on: September 14, 2023, 09:46:01 AM »
Getting back to bunkers; probably only a few here have played a bunkerless course but most all of us have played a bunkerless hole.  On my latest project, we will actually end up with at least two of them.  Don’t know about you but when I come across a hole without bunkers I still am always thinking “is something missing” and should it have at least one bunker to make it a proper golf hole.  This is that mindset for most of us about golf courses always being associated with bunkers. Many times on a well designed hole without bunkers I walk away thinking, that hole was really interesting and it didn’t need any.  I am hoping those who play the bunkerless holes on my current renovation will feel the same.  The question remains; how many architects are creative enough with all the other kinds of formal and informal hazards available on their design pallet to routinely build 18 of them?  And how willing are golfers to accept it?  Likely we will never know.

Time for some photos of bunkerless Kington - https://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,30926.0.html
atb


Mark_Fine

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Bunkers on most courses?
« Reply #30 on: September 15, 2023, 12:55:32 PM »
Great photos Thomas.  Easy to see why architects favor bunkers - compared to those hazards, sand bunkers are a piece of cake  ;D

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