You may have seen that at Pine Ridge Golf Course, we are doing some renovations–particularly for the sand bunkers around the course. Have you ever wondered what the steps are to renovate sand bunkers? Neither did we–until now! Here they are:
- Remove the old sand. We have to get rid of the dirty sand that is contaminated with organic matter, soil or other large particles. We can put it other places on the course, but it has no place in the bunkers.
- Find the original bunker edge. This might be more difficult on some holes than others, but as we are digging out the old sand, we have to identify the edges that were originally put in.
- Dig out the original shape. Some golf courses call up their old architects to make sure they are really re-creating the bunker as it was intended to be. In any case, after years of play, sand has probably accumulated on the green from golfers blasting their balls out of the bunker. Some holes may even need new sod, depending on how much sand has built up on the lip.
- Examine how water moves into the bunker, and install appropriate drainage. A 6-inch lip, or one that actually has a ditch or drain that connects to a larger drainage system, are good strategies to prevent water from running into the bunker. But, as we all know, there’s not much that we can do in Oregon to prevent the bunker from getting wet–so proper drainage is a must.
- Re-establish bunker edges and banks. Functional bunker edges are important not only for the appeal of the bunker, but also its functionality, to reinstall a defined border. For extra support, some people will use strips of plywood or burlap bags filled with dirt to allow the sod to establish itself.
- Install new sand. As experienced golfers know, the USGS actually regulated the permitted types of sand in bunkers in 1974. These guidelines recommend sand particles between 0.25 and 1 millimeter that are angular in shape. Having the correct size of sand particles prevents larger particles from collecting on the turf surface, interfering with ball roll, and damaging mowers. Sand loads must be inspected to be sure they are uniform, and you should do research on reliable suppliers that ensure delivery trucks are not contaminated with foreign materials.
One might only guess at how much of a process it is to renovate sand bunkers, but we believe that it is a worthwhile and important investment to make, so that our patrons have a great experience this year at Pine Ridge Golf Course. We are looking forward to having you come out and check our progress–keep an eye on our Facebook page as we post updates and before & after photos.