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bunker sand golf bunkers

You won’t believe how much it costs to put sand in a bunker

Next time you’re complaining about the traps – bear in mind how much money your club needs to splash out to fill them up
 

If you had a pound for every time you’d heard someone complain about the bunkers on their course…

Well, you know the rest.

Outside of the greens, there is nothing like a golf club’s traps – whether it’s the sand, type of grain, consistency, or raking – to get members moaning.

We know how long it takes our greenkeeping staff to rake and maintain these hazards, but were you aware of just how much it costs to deposit that sand in the first place?

You might be left wondering why we have any bunkers on our courses at all.

On the From the Clubhouse podcast, Sam Evans, Master Greenkeeper and Course Manager at North Hants Golf Club, in Hampshire, revealed the frankly jaw dropping sums he was looking at forking out for the grainy stuff.

“Aggregate prices in the last three years have gone through the roof,” he explained. “We’re looking at China Clay sand for our bunkers going forward. It has a grey, mottled, effect and the last price I had for that was about £50 a tonne plus VAT. It may even be a little bit more now.

“If you can imagine that in the average bunker you might put three tonnes in, that’s £150 per bunker. That’s just on sand which, after a week, if you haven’t got the right liner, might be contaminated and may not play as well.”

Now count up the number of bunkers you have on your course and times it by £150 plus VAT – and that total is still probably just a fraction of the maintenance costs your golf club is going to incur throughout the year.

So perhaps the next time you’ve buried the leading edge into the sand, or thinned one right over the top of the green, don’t be so quick to point fingers at the maintenance teams. They’re doing their best with what they can afford.

What do you think? Is the price of bunker sand out of control? Should we have fewer bunkers on our courses? Tweet me and let me know.

From the Clubhouse podcast on Augusta Syndrome

Steve Carroll and Tom Irwin are joined this week on the From the Clubhouse podcast, in association with TaylorMade, by Sam Evans, Master Greenkeeper and North Hants GC Course Manager. As well as bunker sand, the trio talk about the challenges of preparing a course for a very early season start. To listen, click on the player below, or on your preferred podcast platform.

More on bunkers

More podcasts from National Club Golfer

Steve Carroll

Steve Carroll

A journalist for 25 years, Steve has been immersed in club golf for almost as long. A former club captain, he has passed the Level 3 Rules of Golf exam with distinction having attended the R&A's prestigious Tournament Administrators and Referees Seminar.

Steve has officiated at a host of high-profile tournaments, including Open Regional Qualifying, PGA Fourball Championship, English Men's Senior Amateur, and the North of England Amateur Championship. In 2023, he made his international debut as part of the team that refereed England vs Switzerland U16 girls.

A part of NCG's Top 100s panel, Steve has a particular love of links golf and is frantically trying to restore his single-figure handicap. He currently floats at around 11.

Steve plays at Close House, in Newcastle, and York GC, where he is a member of the club's matches and competitions committee and referees the annual 36-hole scratch York Rose Bowl.

Having studied history at Newcastle University, he became a journalist having passed his NTCJ exams at Darlington College of Technology.

What's in Steve's bag: TaylorMade Stealth 2 driver, 3-wood, and hybrids; TaylorMade Stealth 2 irons; TaylorMade Hi-Toe, Ping ChipR, Sik Putter.

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