THE QUES­TION

Why are the bunkers so in­con­sis­tent? USGA agron­o­mist Brian Whit­lark ex­plains why to­tally con­sis­tent bunkers are un­achiev­able... and why moan­ing at your green­keep­ers is bark­ing up the wrong tree

Golf World (UK) - - SPIN -

1. SAND DEPTH

Depth of sand has a big im­pact on playa­bil­ity. If the sand is shal­low, bunkers may be wet and firm; too much sand yields soft con­di­tions that in­crease the prob­a­bil­ity of buried lies. In­con­sis­ten­cies de­velop from nor­mal play, rak­ing and wind ex­po­sure.

2. SUN EX­PO­SURE

Bunkers that get more sun play softer than those re­ceiv­ing less. East and south east-fac­ing bunkers dry faster in the morn­ing than bunkers ori­ented to the west or north and there­fore play softer.

3. WIND EX­PO­SURE

Bunkers fac­ing the pre­dom­i­nant wind di­rec­tion will dry faster and play softer than bunkers that are shielded from the wind.

4. PLAY VOL­UME

Bunkers that re­ceive more play will be softer and less con­sis­tent than bunkers with lit­tle play. Why? Golf shots, foot traf­fic and rak­ing dis­turb bunker sand and soften con­di­tions.

5. IR­RI­GATION

Ir­ri­gat­ing greens of­ten places bunkers in the line of fire of sprin­klers. Bunkers that re­ceive ir­ri­gation will play firmer than those that are out of the way of ir­ri­gation.

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