Bunkers: A Hot Topic Once Again September 16, 2014 By Chris Hartwiger and Patrick O’Brien

In a quest to improve golfer satisfaction and keep maintenance costs reasonable, many superintendents now maintain bunker faces with minimal sand disturbance while raking the bottoms in a traditional manner. This technique is referred to commonly as “The Aussie Method.”

As the number of Course Consulting Service visits begins to wind down, the number of requests for information about bunkers has been increasing. Perhaps this is a sign that the economics of golf are improving in the southeast, but regardless it is a reminder that bunkers continue to be the second-most discussed topic during Course Consulting Service visits. Nevertheless, we want to provide several links to help golfers and golf facilities become more informed about bunkers. The following links discuss bunker consistency, maintenance and selecting sand for bunkers.

A satirical look at attempting to make bunkers consistent:

Step by Step Guide to Consistent Bunkers 

A brief overview of an alternative bunker-raking technique:The Aussie Method of Bunker Prep 

A fun look at the role of bunkers on the golf course:A Matter of Respect 

Information on selecting appropriate sand for your bunkers:

Howto Select the Best Sand for Your Bunkers  

Making Low Cost Bunker Sands Work 

Bunker construction techniques continue to increase in complexity, cost and effectiveness. Most construction techniques are derived from the frustrations of trying to keep bunker sand in place while enduring myriad challenges from the weather. While a thorough review of bunker construction techniques is beyond the scope of this update, the Green Section staff are available to assist your club in reviewing these techniques should the need arise.

Additionally, the USGA Green Section now offers a specialty visit focused on bunkers. The purpose of the Bunker Evaluation visit is to provide comprehensive, factual information regarding bunkers and their associated costs. During the visit, bunkers are assessed for short-term issues related to daily maintenance and/or operational efficiency and long-term issues related to infrastructure. USGA agronomists will also provide recommendations as needed. For more information on a specialized Bunker Evaluation Course Consulting Service visit, please visit USGA Course Consulting Service or contact Chris Hartwiger ( or Patrick O’Brien (

Source:  Chris Hartwiger ( and Patrick O’Brien (

Information on the USGA’s Course Consulting Service 

Contact the Green Section Staff