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Sand trap specifications?


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#1 Andy L

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Posted 18 September 2012 - 09:00 PM

Are there specifications for sand traps and the sand that's put in them? I've been to some courses where they are so hard and absent of decent sand, more like dirt, that they just don't seem fair.


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#2 sui generis

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Posted 18 September 2012 - 09:09 PM

View PostAndy L, on 18 September 2012 - 09:00 PM, said:

Are there specifications for sand traps and the sand that's put in them? I've been to some courses where they are so hard and absent of decent sand, more like dirt, that they just don't seem fair.

Don't take this wrong but, bunkers are meant to be hazards and "fair" isn't really in the equation.
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#3 Conrad1953

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Posted 18 September 2012 - 09:27 PM

View Postsui generis, on 18 September 2012 - 09:09 PM, said:

View PostAndy L, on 18 September 2012 - 09:00 PM, said:

Are there specifications for sand traps and the sand that's put in them? I've been to some courses where they are so hard and absent of decent sand, more like dirt, that they just don't seem fair.

Don't take this wrong but, bunkers are meant to be hazards and "fair" isn't really in the equation.

Except on the PGA Tour.

#4 havoc01

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Posted 18 September 2012 - 09:48 PM

must be playing in arizona

would rather hit out of the parking lot

#5 Petethreeput

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Posted 18 September 2012 - 09:50 PM

A greenskeeper could better answer this question, but I know there are least 5 different "types" of sand.  Each has a different consistency and "fluffiness" factor for maintenance.

I believe the climate helps dictate the sand some courses use, also the ease in which it is gotten.


#6 bmellisen

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Posted 18 September 2012 - 10:01 PM

View Postsui generis, on 18 September 2012 - 09:09 PM, said:

View PostAndy L, on 18 September 2012 - 09:00 PM, said:

Are there specifications for sand traps and the sand that's put in them? I've been to some courses where they are so hard and absent of decent sand, more like dirt, that they just don't seem fair.

Don't take this wrong but, bunkers are meant to be hazards and "fair" isn't really in the equation.

I figured you would get this response, didnt think it would be the first one. Fair, iguess you shouldnt expect that. Playable?  Thats another story. But really op, your best bet is to post in instruction and ask how to play out of clay bunkers.

#7 Andy L

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Posted 19 September 2012 - 06:26 AM

View Postbmellisen, on 18 September 2012 - 10:01 PM, said:

View Postsui generis, on 18 September 2012 - 09:09 PM, said:

View PostAndy L, on 18 September 2012 - 09:00 PM, said:

Are there specifications for sand traps and the sand that's put in them? I've been to some courses where they are so hard and absent of decent sand, more like dirt, that they just don't seem fair.

Don't take this wrong but, bunkers are meant to be hazards and "fair" isn't really in the equation.

I figured you would get this response, didnt think it would be the first one. Fair, iguess you shouldnt expect that. Playable?  Thats another story. But really op, your best bet is to post in instruction and ask how to play out of clay bunkers.

Yes I do know how to play out of them and try my best to stay away from them. I was asking because I've never seen someone on TV have to play out of bunkers like I've seen on some public courses and was curious as to whether there are bunker specifications.  At some point some of these so-called bunkers more closely resemble GUR rather than a bunker.

#8 kevcarter

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Posted 19 September 2012 - 06:47 AM

There is not anything in the rules for specs on bunkers, but you may want to check the specs on your sand wedge. Many good sand wedges have a lot of bounce which is great in soft sand, but difficult to get under the ball in hard sand. Make sure when you are playing a course with hard sand that you are carrying a wedge with low bounce.

Just an idea...
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#9 Andy L

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Posted 19 September 2012 - 07:15 AM

View Postkevcarter, on 19 September 2012 - 06:47 AM, said:

There is not anything in the rules for specs on bunkers, but you may want to check the specs on your sand wedge. Many good sand wedges have a lot of bounce which is great in soft sand, but difficult to get under the ball in hard sand. Make sure when you are playing a course with hard sand that you are carrying a wedge with low bounce.

Just an idea...

Kevin your idea is right on target with how I now play out of these harder bunkers.

Thanks

Edited by Andy L, 19 September 2012 - 08:13 AM.


#10 60degreessux

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Posted 19 September 2012 - 09:23 AM

View PostAndy L, on 18 September 2012 - 09:00 PM, said:

Are there specifications for sand traps and the sand that's put in them? I've been to some courses where they are so hard and absent of decent sand, more like dirt, that they just don't seem fair.

Unkept sand traps are terribly annoying.  The base is typically rock-filled, not sod, and ruining a club because the course chose not to buy sand this season stinks.

If the trap should or did have sand in it at one time and is now just dirt and rock, I'd suggest asking the greenskeeper or manager to mark the trap as ground under repair (if it's going to be filled with sand again at some point), or if not, at the very least rule that it should be treated as a waste area that may be played through the green rather than as a hazard.

However, if you're in it prior to that change, you're hosed.  A three-iron or a low bounce wedge is your out.


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#11 Socrates

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Posted 19 September 2012 - 09:51 AM

While I'm sure that there are lots of different ways to make a bunker, I'm sure that Superintendents are taught how to make a bunker correctly.  That being said, as one travels about (locally and the world), you come upon all sorts of bunkers in all sorts of states.  Local conditions have a lot to do with it, but unless they are in disrepair you just have to adapt.
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#12 60degreessux

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Posted 19 September 2012 - 10:01 AM

View PostSocrates, on 19 September 2012 - 09:51 AM, said:

While I'm sure that there are lots of different ways to make a bunker, I'm sure that Superintendents are taught how to make a bunker correctly.

Many of them don't have the budget to keep them in the originally intended state, hence suggesting to them they they classify the sand trap differently when it's not in it's intended condition.

#13 Socrates

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Posted 19 September 2012 - 10:24 AM

View Post60degreessux, on 19 September 2012 - 10:01 AM, said:

View PostSocrates, on 19 September 2012 - 09:51 AM, said:

While I'm sure that there are lots of different ways to make a bunker, I'm sure that Superintendents are taught how to make a bunker correctly.

Many of them don't have the budget to keep them in the originally intended state, hence suggesting to them they they classify the sand trap differently when it's not in it's intended condition.
It's a hazard and as long as it has been maintained to some degree, I play it as it lies.  If it isn't maintained at all and looks like cattle have used it, then you have a case for GUR.
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#14 Andy L

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Posted 19 September 2012 - 10:28 AM

View Post60degreessux, on 19 September 2012 - 10:01 AM, said:

View PostSocrates, on 19 September 2012 - 09:51 AM, said:

While I'm sure that there are lots of different ways to make a bunker, I'm sure that Superintendents are taught how to make a bunker correctly.

Many of them don't have the budget to keep them in the originally intended state, hence suggesting to them they they classify the sand trap differently when it's not in it's intended condition.

Exactly 60degrees.  I ruined one wedge in a bunker that had rock in it.  I've seen others hurt their wrists.  I understand that budget can be an issue, so I think what you say makes a lot of sense, so if the bunker ins't in the condition that was intended, then it should be classified differently.

#15 60degreessux

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Posted 19 September 2012 - 10:31 AM

View PostSocrates, on 19 September 2012 - 10:24 AM, said:

View Post60degreessux, on 19 September 2012 - 10:01 AM, said:

View PostSocrates, on 19 September 2012 - 09:51 AM, said:

While I'm sure that there are lots of different ways to make a bunker, I'm sure that Superintendents are taught how to make a bunker correctly.

Many of them don't have the budget to keep them in the originally intended state, hence suggesting to them they they classify the sand trap differently when it's not in it's intended condition.
It's a hazard and as long as it has been maintained to some degree, I play it as it lies.  If it isn't maintained at all and looks like cattle have used it, then you have a case for GUR.

Seems like you're not reading what I wrote, so I'll leave the back and forth now.


#16 RecreationalHacker

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Posted 19 September 2012 - 11:11 AM

View PostSocrates, on 19 September 2012 - 10:24 AM, said:

View Post60degreessux, on 19 September 2012 - 10:01 AM, said:

View PostSocrates, on 19 September 2012 - 09:51 AM, said:

While I'm sure that there are lots of different ways to make a bunker, I'm sure that Superintendents are taught how to make a bunker correctly.

Many of them don't have the budget to keep them in the originally intended state, hence suggesting to them they they classify the sand trap differently when it's not in it's intended condition.
It's a hazard and as long as it has been maintained to some degree, I play it as it lies.  If it isn't maintained at all and looks like cattle have used it, then you have a case for GUR.
I wish that was the case. But as far as I know, players can't arbitrarily declare a bunker not maintained to their satisfaction as GUR.  

I play a course with a great layout but has come on hard financial times the last few years.  Bunker maintenance has been terrible including mounds in the sand and exposed bunker faces that create vertical faces that are at times more than 6" high (think English pot bunkers...on a "mini" scale).  To make matters worse, players don't bother raking and leave trenches that rival the Panama Canal.  It try to stay positive.  Most of the time, bunkers don't bother me that much but these sure due. They're definitely a hazard that I try to keep out of.

#17 teejaywhy

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Posted 19 September 2012 - 04:27 PM

View PostAndy L, on 19 September 2012 - 06:26 AM, said:


... I was asking because I've never seen someone on TV have to play out of bunkers like I've seen on some public courses ...

TV vs. Real world.

You may have notice other differences?

#18 againstthegrain

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Posted 19 September 2012 - 05:06 PM

It's a pia when they vary on the same course.  Our last renovation was done on the cheap, so it results in new sand being added randomly as needed.  There is no consistency from bunker to bunker.  Sometimes it's easier to chip or pitch out of the really hard rocky traps.

Edited by againstthegrain, 19 September 2012 - 05:08 PM.


#19 bobfoster

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Posted 19 September 2012 - 08:10 PM

A bunker (in the RoG) is simply defined as a "hazard consisting of sand". And no, there is no rule or decision that ever allows one to treat a trap as ground under repair (unless the course itself designates it as such).

I have always thought traps were an issue that the USGA should address. It may be one of the biggest blind spots in the RoG ... and the biggest difference between the pro and amateur levels of golf. The Rules actually begin with Etiquette ... part of which is "Before leaving a bunker, players should carefully fill up and smooth over all holes and footprints made by them and any nearby made by others. If a rake is within reasonable proximity of the bunker, the rake should be used for this purpose. "

The assumption in the Rules is that people play up to these standards. As, on Tour, they always do - there's no such thing as someone hitting into an unraked trap. And they also (generally) do at private clubs (when members have some sense of ownership, and/or understand they'd get a reputation, they tend to take etiquette a lot more seriously).

But on public courses, it is not uncommon to see bad - even egregious - breaches of etiquette. Second worst problem is not fixing ball marks on the green (we've all probably played pockmarked munis where it seems like the last 10 foursomes never fixed a ball mark).But in that case, it is actually possible to mitigate the issue - it is legal to fix ball marks on the line of your putt.

Traps are a different story ... traps are supposed to be hazards ...  but I don't think the RoG ever envisioned a ball coming to rest in the bottom of deep unraked heel mark left by some rude jerk as being a hazard. Why? Because the RoG actually provide for the enforcement of Etiquette:

"If players follow the guidelines in this Section, it will make the game more enjoyable for everyone.

If a player consistently disregards these guidelines during a round or over a period of time to the detriment of others, it is recommended that the Committee consider taking appropriate disciplinary action against the offending player. Such action may, for example, include prohibiting play for a limited time on the course or in a certain number of competitions. This is considered to be justifiable in terms of protecting the interest of the majority of golfers who wish to play in accordance with these guidelines.

In the case of a serious breach of Etiquette, the Committee may disqualify a player under Rule 33-7
."

In my opinion, the USGA should add a rule (or at least a decision) ... that permits golfers to mitigate the effects of these breaches ... i.e., if you are severraly disadvantaged not because of a trap, but because the foursome before you didn't rake the trap, you ought to be permitted to lift the ball, rake the trap, and take a drop.

Just my opinion.

#20 Sawgrass

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Posted 19 September 2012 - 10:14 PM

View Postbobfoster, on 19 September 2012 - 08:10 PM, said:



In my opinion, the USGA should add a rule (or at least a decision) ... that permits golfers to mitigate the effects of these breaches ... i.e., if you are severraly disadvantaged not because of a trap, but because the foursome before you didn't rake the trap, you ought to be permitted to lift the ball, rake the trap, and take a drop.


How do you feel about a ball stuck in a large animal's footprint in a bunker?  in a rut in the sand caused by recent rain?

Where would you advocate a ball be relocated to if it stopped in a footprint on a sharp upslope or downslope and won't stay put after the smoothing I presume you'd appreciate?

If they changed the rule it would have to be a bit complicated.  I play mostly muni golf, and I've been stuck in a footprint only once this year. To me, the change wouldn't be worth giving up the challenge of playing it as it lies.   Manicuring your lie in a hazard is way too fussy IMO. And dealing with the occasional problem doesn't feel unfair to me. No more unfair than not being allowed to move a branch in my way in a dry part of a water hazard (or in a bunker, for that matter).  I'm good with the variety of challenges.


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#21 Socrates

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Posted 20 September 2012 - 08:01 AM

View PostRecreationalHacker, on 19 September 2012 - 11:11 AM, said:

View PostSocrates, on 19 September 2012 - 10:24 AM, said:

It's a hazard and as long as it has been maintained to some degree, I play it as it lies.  If it isn't maintained at all and looks like cattle have used it, then you have a case for GUR.
I wish that was the case. But as far as I know, players can't arbitrarily declare a bunker not maintained to their satisfaction as GUR.  

I play a course with a great layout but has come on hard financial times the last few years.  Bunker maintenance has been terrible including mounds in the sand and exposed bunker faces that create vertical faces that are at times more than 6" high (think English pot bunkers...on a "mini" scale).  To make matters worse, players don't bother raking and leave trenches that rival the Panama Canal.  It try to stay positive.  Most of the time, bunkers don't bother me that much but these sure due. They're definitely a hazard that I try to keep out of.
One of the problems is that a course that has let the bunkers "go" and not maintain them, are not going to go to the expense (time or money) of declaring them GUR.  So that leaves the golfer in a predicament: playing a course where there are areas that should be declared GUR and what to do about it while playing.  I guess not play that course and find one with better conditions.
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#22 Veng

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Posted 20 September 2012 - 11:00 AM

I agree bunkers are meant to be hazards; however, the course designer did not intend the sand trap to be a gravel pit, nor did they intend it to be as hard as an empty concrete swimming pool.  I won't ruin my clubs or my wrists on either, and I really don't care what anyone thinks.

#23 mwmgolfx

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Posted 20 September 2012 - 11:56 AM

+1.  Absolutely!!  My wrists just won't take major rock filled traps, not including the risk to my clubs.  I've got dings enough on my clubs without risking them in lousy maintained traps.  As long as I'm not in a tournament, I'll pick up and move all the rocks possible.  USGA allows this for local rules and regardless of whether they've posted this local rule, I'll take it.

I can understand them being hard at times,  like after a heavy rainfall where they have only partially dried out.  Just enough to be hard.  Or the rain fall moved a lot of sand.  I don't like those that have almost no sand at all in them.  I can play them but don't think they are fair or reasonable.

Pro's traps have a specified amount of sand - too much and they can get plugged lies and not too little for hardness.  So their courses are redone to their specs before their tournaments, one course I play at regularly actually had to take sand out of the traps for when the pros played there as there was "too much for them" (poor babies).

#24 60degreessux

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Posted 20 September 2012 - 09:36 PM

I can't stress it enough - the local pros or muni managers aren't going to declare poorly-maintained traps ground under repair or through the green unless they get suggestions to do so.  Every time you encounter one of these, kindly mention the idea to them.  Eventually, hopefully, it will catch on.

#25 Sawgrass

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Posted 20 September 2012 - 10:05 PM

For the record, offically speaking, any two players (or more) who are competing with each other can, before the start of a round, form their own competition committee and invoke any legal local rule and make determinations as to what is GUR, whether it is marked that way or not.

There is no "magic number" of competitors which is required to "run" a competition, as long as there is a competition.  And according to the rules, GUR does not have to be marked in advance in order to qualify if the committee deems it appropriate when asked for a ruling.


#26 60degreessux

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Posted 20 September 2012 - 10:47 PM

View PostSawgrass, on 20 September 2012 - 10:05 PM, said:

For the record, offically speaking, any two players (or more) who are competing with each other can, before the start of a round, form their own competition committee and invoke any legal local rule and make determinations as to what is GUR, whether it is marked that way or not.

There is no "magic number" of competitors which is required to "run" a competition, as long as there is a competition.  And according to the rules, GUR does not have to be marked in advance in order to qualify if the committee deems it appropriate when asked for a ruling.

But that round isn't valid for HC purposes...

#27 Sawgrass

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Posted 20 September 2012 - 10:51 PM

View Post60degreessux, on 20 September 2012 - 10:47 PM, said:

View PostSawgrass, on 20 September 2012 - 10:05 PM, said:

For the record, offically speaking, any two players (or more) who are competing with each other can, before the start of a round, form their own competition committee and invoke any legal local rule and make determinations as to what is GUR, whether it is marked that way or not.

There is no "magic number" of competitors which is required to "run" a competition, as long as there is a competition.  And according to the rules, GUR does not have to be marked in advance in order to qualify if the committee deems it appropriate when asked for a ruling.

But that round isn't valid for HC purposes...

It is if you're playing under USGA handicap rules, just like any tournament round is.


#28 60degreessux

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Posted 20 September 2012 - 11:08 PM

View PostSawgrass, on 20 September 2012 - 10:51 PM, said:



It is if you're playing under USGA handicap rules, just like any tournament round is.

Now I have to go read.  I knew the players could waive rules if agreed, but I'm not clear on this situation.  Can you point me to the relevant portion of the rulebook?

#29 Socrates

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Posted 20 September 2012 - 11:09 PM

View PostSawgrass, on 20 September 2012 - 10:05 PM, said:

For the record, offically speaking, any two players (or more) who are competing with each other can, before the start of a round, form their own competition committee and invoke any legal local rule and make determinations as to what is GUR, whether it is marked that way or not.

There is no "magic number" of competitors which is required to "run" a competition, as long as there is a competition.  And according to the rules, GUR does not have to be marked in advance in order to qualify if the committee deems it appropriate when asked for a ruling.
I have read that before and thanks for reminding me of it.  A perfect example of doing what if fair and equitable under the Rules if you have to take matters into your own hands due to a lack of will by a course.  In defence of most non-member courses, there rarely is any kind of committee to do any of these kinds of Rulings and they certainly aren't going to post anything that might imply their course sucks.
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#30 Sawgrass

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Posted 21 September 2012 - 12:03 AM

View Post60degreessux, on 20 September 2012 - 11:08 PM, said:

View PostSawgrass, on 20 September 2012 - 10:51 PM, said:



It is if you're playing under USGA handicap rules, just like any tournament round is.

Now I have to go read.  I knew the players could waive rules if agreed, but I'm not clear on this situation.  Can you point me to the relevant portion of the rulebook?

Players can't waive rules.  Rule 1-3 tells us that.   Here we are talking about ground under repair, the definition of which states, in part,
“ Ground under repair” is any part of the course so marked by order of the Committee or so declared by its authorized representative."  so now we know that GUR doesn't have to be marked in advance, and that the committee's representative can declare it as such.

The only thing left to do is to look up the definition of the committee, which states, "The “ Committee’’ is the committee in charge of the competition or, if the matter does not arise in a competition, the committee in charge of the course."

So if the course's committee hasn't defined something as GUR, you need a competition committee if you want that done. So how do you form a competition committee?  You simply decide to do so.

I once wrote to the USGA and asked them if there was a minimum number of players required to form a committee-worthy competition, and they wrote back to me that all you need is two players who are competing against each other, and they must define themselves as a committee before the game begins.  At that time they can adopt the "stones in bunkers" local rule, the "distance measuring devices" local rule, and any other legal local rule they wish.  

Btw, any of these local rules or declarations of GUR would only lower a players score, so there is no handicap "harm"  potential.

Edited by Sawgrass, 21 September 2012 - 12:08 AM.


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