It looks like a beach with all those shells!

Dear Spring Run Member,

Over the past month, several pieces of shell and rock found in bunkers has been spotted, pocketed, and subsequently placed on the GM’s desk. The rumor is that we are buying different sand, and that these pieces are being delivered in our sand purchases. Another rumor is that the sand has changed color from a lighter to a yellow shade. I’ve been told that someone said “They’re mixing old coquina with new sand!” Please note, that’s simply not the case.

For now, I’ll dispense with the science, except to tell you we have “G-Angle” sand in our bunkers. It’s what John Sanford spec-ed in 2014, and it’s what we have consistently purchased from Golf Agronomics ever since. Golf course-quality sand from area mines in Immokolee and Moore Haven is dredged, sifted, and prepared for Golf Ag, who crushes the silica sand into angular particles that interlock to produce firmer lies and better drainage.

I have been told that if a rock or shell ever made it to a bunker from a delivery, the only possible conclusion would be that a) an inexperienced loader dug too deep, or that b) a subcontractor didn’t wash out his bed sufficiently and left foreign material behind. While we don’t discount these possibilities, the most likely cause is from our existing soil profiles. Entire high bunker faces wash down 10-15 times a summer, exposing the base soil at the top. Lime rocks in the soil come loose and wash down into the bunkers, or are dragged to the surface with the Sand Pro rakes. Last couple summers have brought torrential rains, contaminating each bunker with more shell, rock, and organic matter. Eventually, as you may know from physics, the finer particles sink to the bottom, and the larger ones rise and remain at the surface.

And regarding the color, it is NOT coquina. Bunker sand laying out in nature will eventually turn darker, and unless you are refilling your bunkers with fresh white sand every year or two, dirt and organic material will discolor it.

Soooo….what is to be done about it?

This is a two-fold problem. The short answer is that we need to add more sand to the bunkers. We’ve added sand to the heavily used bunkers, but other than that, nothing much since renovation. The longer term solution for the rocks and shells is a bunker liner.

Gregg has cost estimates for sand, and the Greens Committee will be looking at where we might want to consider installing liners. There is quite an expense, as in everything golf course related, and we don’t want to line every bunker. Once we are able to do some analysis on this, we will share more of our plans with you.  You can help, though, when raking the trap when you land in the sand. Please pull (or push) the sand to the center to make sure that there is sufficient depth in the middle of the trap. Most people pull the sand to the edges, making the center more shallow. Ideally, we would like to have at least 6” of sand in each trap, but through daily raking, dragging, and erosion over 2 years, some areas have a lot and others have none! It’s a daily process.

If you have questions or comments, please reply!

Thank you,

Mike 

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4 thoughts on “It looks like a beach with all those shells!

  1. Bob Owens

    Thanks for this information. I would be extremely careful about installing liners. We have them at our club in MA and they quickly become uncovered, which is unsightly, or only slightly covered creating dificulty in blasting out as well as creating an injury hazard.

  2. Donna Greco

    Hi Mike, I was in several bunkers yesterday! When I hit out the greens had to be brushed as so many pebbles fly up! This not only happened to me but to others! Hope this problem and other course problems get solved! What happened to the assistant? He was very knowledgeable! Thanks, Donna

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

  3. Dave Schellinger

    Mike, thanks for getting the facts out to stop the rumor mill. Condition though was embarrassing Wednesday for member guest event.

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