The first step is to remove the old sand and few feet of turf that surrounds the bunker. The turf removed from the perimeter helps us define the size and shape of the bunkers. As bunkers age they typically get smaller, in our case some of the bunkers are close to 25 years old.
|Old sand and grass being removed|
| sand piled up for removal|
The next step is to remove the old drain tile and bedding material like pea stone or gravel. Once that is completed, the bunker floor is re-graded.
|Old drain system being removed|
|The bunker floor being re-graded|
During the re-grading process sometimes you find surprises.
|A huge rock right under the surface|
The third step is creating the new shape and style. As mentioned bunkers shrink over time due to sand build up. When smaller bunkers are preferred, but there is a sand build up that you don't want to or can't remove, burlap bags filled with topsoil make a great alternative. These bags can be stacked and molded. Using sand as a wall is not a good choice as it doesn't create a firm foundation to keep sand inside the bunker and doesn't hold up well to traffic from golfers and especially mowing equipment.
|Sand build up in front of bunker|
|Burlap bags filled with screened topsoil|
Once the bunker floor is graded, new drain lines are dug. Every bunker may have different drainage patterns. This depends on the size and shape of the bunker. In many cases new exit drain lines have to be installed. This is due to the new drainage system being installed much deeper than the original system.
|New drain line trenches|
|Drain line trenches|
Once the dirt from the drainage trenches is raked out or picked up, instillation of the new drainage system is installed. The new system, I am very excited about. This drain tile is spiral corrugated inside and out, fitting screw on and this pipe is bedded in sand. This system has been very easy to install and given how much rain we have received so far this fall it is working great.
|ADS Turf flow fine perforated drain tile|
|Drain tile getting back filled with sand|
|Closer look at tile being bedded in sand|
After the drain system is installed and trenches are back filled with sand to the bunker floor, we begin laying down sod. The sod inside the bunker is being used as a liner. This grass will be killed with round-up and new bunker sand will be installed on top of it. The sod's organic matter or thatch is what is used inside the bunker. The thatch which is composed of cellulose and lignin becomes a barrier between the native soil and the new bunker sand. The cellulose portion of thatch will decompose where the lignin portion will stay around for a long time. I have talked with several people that have used this method and they all feel it has worked well for them.
|Finished bunker with drain lines exposed|
The last step in the renovation process is obviously the addition of the bunker sand. The sand the club is opted for is a major upgrade from the current sand. This sand is much lighter in color, almost white. The sand is coming from Best Sands out of Ohio. Below is a sample of this particular sand.