Bunkerless holes-how many?

I was reading a thread about how one would improve Augusta, and someone said add a bunker to 14, currently the only bunkerless hole on the course. That got me thinking, on the courses you play, how many holes are bunkerless, and how do enjoy those holes relative to others? Also in your ideal course, how many, if any, bunkerless holes would there be?
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  • davep043davep043 Members Posts: 3,010 ✭✭
    My home course has 5 holes without any bunkers. Each one has some other "defense" in the form of OB, water, trees, severe slopes around the green, a really challenging green, or several of the above. Generally, I like bunkers for the way they can be used to frame holes, to provide aiming points, and to provide strategic (or punitive) elements. But its possible to do all of that in other ways, especially on a site with significant elevation change. I don't really think about an ideal course, so I can't answer that question, but you can definitely have a really good hole without having a single bunker.
  • CheckJVCheckJV Male Model Posts: 2,092 ✭✭
    Our 18 hole course has 3 holes without bunkers. We have been taking some bunkers out over the past few years. We could remove bunkers on 6 more holes and they would still be challenging and play just fine. Ideal course has some bunkers. It makes for interesting shots.
  • duffer987duffer987 Don't feed the Choo. Canadian in CaliforniaMembers Posts: 8,961 ✭✭
    OP I see you are out in the East Bay. Metropolitan - which used to be my local course - has 3 bunkerless par 4 holes that are protected by some combination of length, wind, angled green, steep fall offs around green, and the green complex itself. In the case of #16 I think they used to have a greenside bunker but removed it. Two of them are 'easy' off the tee due to nothing in the landing area, but all 3 are just as interesting around the green as holes with bunkers.



    I agree with Dave, in that I like to use them off the tee for lining up off of and in a lot of cases they do help make for a more aesthetically pleasing hole.

    And again like Mr. 043, I couldn't apply any sort of formula to what would make up my 'ideal' course.
  • tatertottatertot Members Posts: 4,304 ✭✭
    Used to belong to a course that had zero bunkers ... Built in the 70s, kept maintenance costs down. Course was tree lined with fairly small greens, not the best course, but after awhile, you didn't miss the sand. A lot of first time players wouldn't notice until you mentioned it to them.
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  • raynorfan1raynorfan1 Members Posts: 3,519 ✭✭
    We have bunkers on every hole. I can’t think of any that don’t improve their respective hole.
  • Hateto3PuttHateto3Putt Smoking Makes You Look Cool! Members Posts: 6,271 ✭✭
    Although I never thought of it, I just played the whole course in my head...



    Zero holes are bunker free.



    Only two holes have tee shots without bunkers in play, every hole has green side bunkers in play.



    **** that’s a lot of sand!
  • CMCSGolfCMCSGolf Members Posts: 499 ✭✭
    I think bunkers work well when there is no other way to challenge the player. A course with as much land movement and severe greens as Augusta would be pretty good if you took out every single bunker. For example, do the bunkers on 16 help in any way? If you're right or long, that chip is so hard coming down the slope. The bunker in front just keep balls out of the pond.



    Similarly, the extremely penal pot bunkers at St. Andrews fit the course because the ground is pretty flat on a macro scale. How do you keep a player from playing to the optimal side of the fairway to approach a pin? Put a pot bunker there. I guess my ideal number of bunkers (in theory) is zero because I could be challenged by other features like ground slopes. In practice, good bunkers make you think about the shot more before you hit. So if the bunker isn't making you rethink a shot or at least influencing a decision, it's probably not a good one.
  • GTgolfGTgolf Members Posts: 512 ✭✭
    We just had about a dozen fairway bunkers removed from the course.



    Every hole has bunkers in play.
  • jvincentjvincent Members Posts: 494 ✭✭


    Although I never thought of it, I just played the whole course in my head...



    Zero holes are bunker free.



    Only two holes have tee shots without bunkers in play, every hole has green side bunkers in play.



    **** that's a lot of sand!




    Very similar to my home course. Bunkers on every hole, only one has no bunkers in play off the tee. It makes up for it with OB left and trees right.
  • robleighlefty89robleighlefty89 Members Posts: 118 ✭✭
    There are a few fine examples of courses with no bunkers at all over here in the UK; Royal Ashdown Forest Golf Club (East Sussex) and Berkhamsted (Hertfordshire).
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  • jwellefson1jwellefson1 Members Posts: 178 ✭✭
    My home course has bunkers on every hole, but some of them are not really in play. Now if you ask anyone in Northern VA if it's one of the better courses in the area they'd say no, so I think that bunkering can add to a course substantially, but another bunker isn't going to make ANGC any more of an incredible course.
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  • davep043davep043 Members Posts: 3,010 ✭✭


    My home course has bunkers on every hole, but some of them are not really in play. Now if you ask anyone in Northern VA if it's one of the better courses in the area they'd say no, so I think that bunkering can add to a course substantially, but another bunker isn't going to make ANGC any more of an incredible course.


    I'm in Northern VA, which course is it?
  • BaitkillerBaitkiller Members Posts: 1,707 ✭✭
    edited Dec 6, 2018 #14
    You could remove 80% of the bunkers at my course and never miss them. There is severe water trouble every single hole plus trees, waste areas and elevated multi tier greens. And yes, bunkers every hole without fail. So why did they just put in a 50 foot long bunker down the left side of #1 fairway that starts 230 yards off the mens tee? Genius! Oh yeah, they also changed a 440 yard par 4 into a par 5 on the card. I hope the place gets re rated soon.
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  • James the Hogan FanJames the Hogan Fan Members Posts: 348 ✭✭
    duffer987 wrote:


    OP I see you are out in the East Bay. Metropolitan - which used to be my local course - has 3 bunkerless par 4 holes that are protected by some combination of length, wind, angled green, steep fall offs around green, and the green complex itself. In the case of #16 I think they used to have a greenside bunker but removed it. Two of them are 'easy' off the tee due to nothing in the landing area, but all 3 are just as interesting around the green as holes with bunkers.



    I agree with Dave, in that I like to use them off the tee for lining up off of and in a lot of cases they do help make for a more aesthetically pleasing hole.

    And again like Mr. 043, I couldn't apply any sort of formula to what would make up my 'ideal' course.




    Yeah I was thinking about Callippe myself, where the bunkerless hole is #11, that straight uphill one with drops to both sides and a blind green. Also lake chabot, which has on the order of 8-10 bunkers for the full course but brutal elevation swings as its defense.
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  • jwellefson1jwellefson1 Members Posts: 178 ✭✭
    davep043 wrote:



    My home course has bunkers on every hole, but some of them are not really in play. Now if you ask anyone in Northern VA if it's one of the better courses in the area they'd say no, so I think that bunkering can add to a course substantially, but another bunker isn't going to make ANGC any more of an incredible course.


    I'm in Northern VA, which course is it?




    Herndon Centennial, it's not a bad course by any means but not up there with the Stonewalls and Westfields at all.
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  • davep043davep043 Members Posts: 3,010 ✭✭

    davep043 wrote:



    My home course has bunkers on every hole, but some of them are not really in play. Now if you ask anyone in Northern VA if it's one of the better courses in the area they'd say no, so I think that bunkering can add to a course substantially, but another bunker isn't going to make ANGC any more of an incredible course.


    I'm in Northern VA, which course is it?




    Herndon Centennial, it's not a bad course by any means but not up there with the Stonewalls and Westfields at all.


    I've always liked Herndon, when I was playing public courses I felt like it was generally in good shape, and challenging enough. Certainly the newer upscale public courses have surpassed it, but for the price its a really good place to play.
  • _Red__Red_ Members Posts: 32
    Three bunkerless holes on my home course.



    They all had at least one bunker in the past.



    On two of the holes natural contours are the defence. Both those holes have narrow greens and one side you absolutely can't miss on.



    The other bunkerless hole was easy before and it's easier now.





    Played Braemar various times. It has no sand bunkers, but you can see where they used to be. It's the highest 18 hole course in the UK and the wind just used to blast the sand out of the bunkers.
  • duffer987duffer987 Don't feed the Choo. Canadian in CaliforniaMembers Posts: 8,961 ✭✭


    There are a few fine examples of courses with no bunkers at all over here in the UK; Royal Ashdown Forest Golf Club (East Sussex) and Berkhamsted (Hertfordshire).


    Royal Ashdown is a great track. Obviously going in you know it's a bunkerless course, but it's a cliche - allbeit a true one - that you don't really notice the lack of bunkers once you are playing. It's just a bunch of solid golf holes, up and down and around some hills.
  • J_BirdieJ_Birdie LOFT Issue Members Posts: 1,698 ✭✭
    The new course around my area has almost no bunkers and the easiest holes on the course are the bunkered ones!
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  • AugustokAugustok Members Posts: 74 ✭✭
    We have 1 hole without bunkers. I’m told that is a Conald Ross trait.
  • davep043davep043 Members Posts: 3,010 ✭✭
    edited Dec 6, 2018 #22
    I was trying to remember bunkerless holes from my various golf travels, and a few come to mind:

    #14 at Royal Dornoch

    #11 at Ballybunion Old (I think)

    #12 at Tralee

    #4 and 5 at Lahinch

    #18 at the Old Course

    I know there are more, but I can't see how a bunker would improve any of these. On the other hand, they're the exception on each course, not the norm.
  • msd71msd71 Members Posts: 707 ✭✭
    1 without bunkers at my club. When I lived in Raleigh there was a course with no bunkers at all. Pretty sure it's closed now.
  • averysdadaverysdad Members Posts: 1,129 ✭✭
    Here’s a weird one....There’s a course called Tobacco Road close to Pinehurst that has zero bunkers....but they have sand on every hole. They call them waste areas as you drive the carts thru almost all of them as you work your way thru the course. If you ever played there you’d know what I mean. Heck of a track...
  • thejuicethejuice Members Posts: 2,065 ✭✭
    I think the best designed courses are the ones that put hazards in play to affect the golfers options, not just because. I've played courses with very few bunkers that are just as hard as courses with them scattered everywhere. Grass bunkers, water hazards, mounds, sloping fairways and greens, very large greens, and tree-lined fairways can make for just as much challenge as a bunker shot. Honestly, sand shots don't scare me like they do some. I'd much rather have a bunked lined fairway than a tight-chute type tree-lined tee shot into the wind with water left and OB right. Now that's scary!!!!
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  • cxxcxx Members Posts: 3,059 ✭✭
    I used to play a low maintenance course. The key was that every hazard was really in play. Too many courses use bunkers for framing the hole visually. Not really the best use of resources. This course put those resources in the greens, where they belonged.
  • Bluefan75Bluefan75 Members Posts: 3,855 ✭✭
    This is an interesting question. We've had several bunkers removed because they "weren't in play." Except I've found that area several times(it's still obvious where a bunker was.) Things are in play for the longer hitters, but apparently we represent a small percentage of the members.



    One thing that bunkers sometimes do though is catch balls that would go OB. We have one green in particular where the back of it is pretty close against the OB stakes. one of the bunkers left has been taken out, and balls that used to stay in that bunker bounce out of there and disappear. I agree that framing a hole is a poor use for a bunker due to the cost it brings in(Arthur Hills loves using them to give aiming points), but you have to be careful not to get too in love with removing bunkers and removing the strategy in doing so.
  • mci711mci711 ChicagoMembers Posts: 939 ✭✭
    averysdad wrote:


    Here’s a weird one....There’s a course called Tobacco Road close to Pinehurst that has zero bunkers....but they have sand on every hole. They call them waste areas as you drive the carts thru almost all of them as you work your way thru the course. If you ever played there you’d know what I mean. Heck of a track...




    I was going to say the same thing. It is a technicality, but The Ocean Course is the same way. Obviously, not what OP was going for though haha.
  • El GringoEl Gringo Members Posts: 60 ✭✭
    edited Dec 31, 2018 #29
    duffer987 wrote:



    There are a few fine examples of courses with no bunkers at all over here in the UK; Royal Ashdown Forest Golf Club (East Sussex) and Berkhamsted (Hertfordshire).


    Royal Ashdown is a great track. Obviously going in you know it's a bunkerless course, but it's a cliche - allbeit a true one - that you don't really notice the lack of bunkers once you are playing. It's just a bunch of solid golf holes, up and down and around some hills.




    One of my absolute favourite courses on the planet has no bunkers. Working from this angle I figure bunkers are terribly over-rated in creating interesting courses and have essentially become a design crutch. If archies worked off the premise of design feature balance a course with over 50 bunkers would be a rarity.



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  • PulledabillPulledabill Posts: 324 ✭✭
    My course has four holes with no bunkers. Course waa built in the late 60s I believe then revamped in the late 80s with houses added.



    The 4 with no bunkers all bring there own set of challenges without bunkers. One of the par 3s that has a bunker on the back of the green to catch your ball.I dont mind that bunker as the rough is treacherous leaving a very hard chip.



    I dont mind strategically placed sand, but Im not a fan of mutiple bunkers around the green and in the fairways of every hole.
  • AleriooonAleriooon Members Posts: 57 ✭✭
    My course has 4 holes without bunkers, it's 100 years old but has been renovated over the years. Almost every hole without a bunker has a pretty severe green or green complex.



    #4- Reachable par 5 with fairway sloping hard right to left into a hazard and green sloping both right to left and front to back making it extremely hard to hold on the approach.



    #12- Par 4 with hazards left and right off the tee and a long, narrow green with mounds on either side that can kick balls away. The approach is blind.



    #14- The same as #12 but tighter and 40 yards shorter.



    #16- Dogleg left with a ravine at hazard at 250 yards off the tee. Green is cut into the side of a hill, missing above can kick the ball on the green but missing below is in the hazard.



    All of these holes feature hazards as deterrents for poor shots and also face dramatically sloping green complexes (and greens for 4 and 16). Bunkers would help tee shots from running into hazards but would remove options around the greens as the mounds are usually pretty tightly cut so a variety of shots can be played. 3 of these 4 holes are some of the toughest on the course and I wouldn't modify them.
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