Get A Professional Opinion On Your Bunkers

By Patrick Gross, Southwest Director
May 14, 2010

Golfers are getting a little cranky about the condition of bunkers. They are either too hard, too soft, not enough sand, too much sand, or… (add your favorite complaint here). Although superintendents can offer factual information about the sand and how it is maintained, maybe it’s time to get a professional opinion – as in golf professional – about the bunkers.

That is exactly what was done at North Ranch Country Club in Thousand Oaks, California. PGA member and general manager Greg Davis, and the director of golf, Mark Wilson evaluated conditions and hit shots out of every bunker at the 27-hole golf course. Each bunker received a grade of A, B, C, D or F, based on sand quality and playability. The information was then shared with superintendent Rich Wagner and the maintenance staff.

There were several positive outcomes from this exercise. First, Rich Wagner and his crew got unbiased and unemotional feedback about the playing quality of the bunkers and where additional work was needed. As a result, the maintenance staff was able to focus on improvements to specific bunkers. Second, the general manager and director of golf were able to respond to golfer complaints with first-hand knowledge and experience. "What bunker where you in sir? I just checked that bunker and can assure you the sand is fine." (This can segue into possibly selling a new sand wedge or offering a bunker lesson.) Third, it was the perfect starting point for developing a long range plan for bunker improvement. For North Ranch Country Club, getting a professional opinion was beneficial in many ways.

Sign up now for Turf Advisory Service visits – Offering a professional opinion on course conditions and turf management programs is the specialty of the Green Section staff. Economic issues and reduced water availability are major concerns throughout the region, and we are prepared to help each course with practical advice. Please contact us to schedule a visit or answer any questions you may have:

Offering a professional opinion on course conditions and turf management programs is the specialty of the Green Section staff. Economic issues and reduced water availability are major concerns throughout the region, and we are prepared to help each course with practical advice. Please contact us to schedule a visit or answer any questions you may have:

Denise Covell, Office Coordinator: dcovell@usga.org
Pat Gross, Southwest Director: pgross@usga.org
Brian Whitlark, Southwest Agronomist: bwhitlark@usga.org

Source: Pat Gross, pgross@usga.org

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