February 1995

Up To Your Knees - In Sand

David M. Kopec, Extension Turfgrass Specialist

Bunkers are viewed as the ultimate challenge, or ultimate penalty in the attempt to land the ball on or near the green. Proper construction and maintenance of bunkers helps both the golfer (who will have better playing conditions) and the superintendent (ease of maintenance).

Sand Depth

The depth of sand for greenside bunkers should be about 4 inches at the base and 2 inches on the bunker face. The shallow depth on the face makes the bunkers easier to groom and rake and minimizes the potential of a buried ball. The ball can roll down to a flatter surface in the bunker. A rule of thumb for bunker sand volume. For each 1000 square feet, a 2 inch depth of sand takes about 6.5 yards of sand. This is for uncompacted sand. Settling should be less than 10% by height. Fairway bunkers should be more shallow, to provide a better lie for distance shots.

Bunker Sand Size

The preferred sand size distribution for bunker sand is as follows:

1. Bunker sand must pass through a #16 mesh screen and,

2. must be retained on a #60 mesh screen with,

3. 75% of the sand minimum must be in the 0.25 to 0.5 mm range (medium grain sand).

Sands in this range give all around best performance in ease of bunker maintenance, firmness in footing, a good ball lie, minimum crusting and internal draining. 

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