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.
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