fbpx
berkhamsted bunkers

Have they gone bunkers at Berkhamsted?

The Hertfordshire course is famous for having no sand – so why have they built something that hasn’t been seen for more than a century?

 

They’re renowned for being one of Britain’s only sand-free courses, so have they gone bonkers (or should that be bunkers) at Berkhamsted?

The club have installed two hazards at the Hertfordshire layout – the first seen there for more than 100 years.

But purists shouldn’t be alarmed, the golf course itself still remains free from the curse of amateur golfers everywhere.

Golf architect James Edward has designed a new short game area in the woodland behind the 18th hole, which includes a curved double green, chipping and pitching areas and, yes, two bunkers.

Club manager Howard Craft said: “We asked our members what they most wanted, and overwhelmingly they requested an upgrade to our practice facilities. We are very happy with the result!

“We did wrestle with the bunkers’ decision, given that we are known as one of the UK’s few great bunker-free golf courses, but our members aren’t hermits!

“They travel all over the world to play golf, so the new bunkers give them a very welcome chance to work on their sand play.”

But that’s not the only unusual thing about the practice facilities. There are no cups on the double-green, with the pins set on spikes.

“We have three pins, and golfers can easily move them to create virtually limitless practice options,” added Craft. “Whether you’re playing bunker shots, hitting chip and runs, or playing from the very Berkhamsted-like swales and hollows, out here you’ll find more or less every short game challenge from the main course – apart from the bunkers, naturally!”

Work on the area began in late 2021, with Edwards combining with shaper Conor Walsh to produce a modern take on the mounds that create a formidable defence for the greens out on the main golf course.

berkhamsted bunkers

The short game greens are seeded with pure bent grass, with dwarf fescue on the outfields to replicate the tight lies on Berkhamsted’s greens.

Heather was also taken from non-golfing areas of the main golf course and replanted in between the bunkers.

Edwards said: “Three iconic golf architects – Willie Park Jnr, Harry Colt and James Braid – each contributed to the design of the main golf course here, so with our first heathland academy we wanted to recreate some of the natural atmosphere and unique shots which make Berkhamsted so memorable.”

“Our motto here is always ‘Golf as nature intended’,” added Craft. “In fact it is amazing to see how quickly Mother Nature has worked her magic on the area, with self-seeded gorse appearing quite naturally on the mounds – just like elsewhere at Berkhamsted.

“I feel sure that James Braid, Harry Colt and Willie Park Jnr would have enjoyed whiling away the hours here with a bag of balls and a short iron – and our members feel exactly the same about this wonderful new part of the golf club.”

For further information see www.berkhamstedgolfclub.co.uk.

What do you think of the Berkhamsted bunkers? Should there be fewer bunkers on golf courses, or is it the more sand the better? Let me know with a tweet.

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.

Latest Posts

US Open

Rory McIlroy: ‘I’d love if we played more golf courses like Pinehurst’

By

Read full article about Rory McIlroy: ‘I’d love if we played more golf courses like Pinehurst’
deal of the week

This week’s hottest golf equipment deals

By

Read full article about This week’s hottest golf equipment deals
US Open test

US Open

Formidable but fair: This is exactly what we want from a US Open test

By

Read full article about Formidable but fair: This is exactly what we want from a US Open test

US Open

It can’t go on like this – Tiger Woods needs to find a new way

By

Read full article about It can’t go on like this – Tiger Woods needs to find a new way
Pinehurst No. 2

US Open

How many? You won’t believe the shots you’d get at Pinehurst No. 2

By

Read full article about How many? You won’t believe the shots you’d get at Pinehurst No. 2

Bags

Callaway Org 14 cart bag review

By

Read full article about Callaway Org 14 cart bag review

Buying Guides

Golfers are 2.4 times more likely to get skin cancer – what can you do to minimise the risk?

By

Read full article about Golfers are 2.4 times more likely to get skin cancer – what can you do to minimise the risk?
us open golf prize money

US Open

‘You guys can decide if that’s right or wrong’: USGA announces monster prize fund for US Open

By

Read full article about ‘You guys can decide if that’s right or wrong’: USGA announces monster prize fund for US Open
tiger woods us open

US Open

What has changed since Tiger Woods last played the US Open at Pinehurst?

By

Read full article about What has changed since Tiger Woods last played the US Open at Pinehurst?