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Revetted Bunkers.........

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Bob: Sod-revetted bunkers look fantastic amid the right terrain and style of course; they do much to reduce
the scourge of wind-based erosion; and their near-verticality helps to fortify the bunker and play terrifying "mind games" with golfers. Importantly, they keep the sand where it was meant to be - in the bunker. You called it correctly: they are not natural, and they cannot be on account of being built. They are prepared meticulously: starting at the base and building upwards - layer by layer (perhaps 25-50 in total) and filled, sanded, watered, brushed, back-filled and so forth. Ideally, the act is done on rotation to allow each bunker to stay uniform with its 100-200 buddies.

While on the subject, I always get a free giggle when hearing this style of bunkering being referred to as the "traditional" Scottish method." In the overall evolution of scottish bunkering, sod-revettment is a relatively modern phenomenon. Naturally occuring scars, blow-outs, and  concerted efforts by 'Keepers of The Green' to acknowledge, utilise and eliminate the divot-collection caused by incessant pooling of golf balls, far precede the sod-revettment method of bunker construction. Among all this, hail the humble sheep and its contribution: urination; subsequent lack of grass growth; scraping; more scraping; even more scraping; huddling and shelter. Voila: bunker formation!
Sorry, got off the point there a little. For what it's worth, I always think of Muirfield as the baseline for excellence in revetted bunkers.

Bob- Using the natural "scruffy" look as the comparison, I'd bet the majority of the bell shaped curve of golfers prefer the grass walls to the longer fescued (or other native type grasses) edges. Mostly because if and when their ball finds a "scruffy" spot, they'll be the first to cry, unfair.

Remember the only triple el tigre made in 2000 at the beach? It was on the third hole from the front right bunker grassy knoll wall area. (as I recall, I may be wrong) Come to think of it, the way those bunker walls were maintained was a combo, of sorts, of these two styles. Some of that grass was over two feet long.


No revetted bunkering doesn't look very natural in the pure sense of made by nature. Face it, sand itself doesn't look very "site" natural on most of the golf course sites of this world--since sand itself is not to be found on most sites before courses were built there. That's one of the reasons I keep calling sand bunkering that exist on almost every course in the world--that "odd vestige feature" that hung onto golf architecture completely.

Revetted bunkering has been around long enough to have taken on it's own style I guess. The "lines" of most revetted bunkering is generally sweeping and often does meld in interestingly with the overall site "lines" of many of the courses you find it on.

The playability of revetted bunkers particularly concerning what Ian Andrew said about them has a way of being more effective as a strategic feature too. They generally have extremely short grass surrounding them making balls far easier to get in them. And most revetted bunkering gives that sort of "shadowy" look simply because the sand is not as visible as the more normal sand flashed bunker. I like that "shadowy" look in bunkering because I think it makes golfers pay closer attention to what's going on out there that might be of danger to them.

TEPaul & Bob Huntley,

You might be surprised to learn that Greg Norman used a similar bunker style at Old Marsh, in south Florida.

They don't look out of place, and there is no loss of continuity with the other bunker styles found on the golf course.

They do present a highly unusual obstacle to errant golf balls.

I happen to like them.

Norbert P:
 They always strike me as dignified stability; giving a course age, even if it is just an illusion.


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