Golf Course Architecture - Issue 61, July 2020

The uncharacteristic inclusion of a straight line or edge into the landscape can be a thing of beauty and an interesting strategic puzzle to solve. The single bunker Elaborate artistic expressions of bunkers have recently taken centre stage, a far cry from their primitive forms as windblown scars and scraps formed by burrowing animals. While there is excitement in and flair to an elaborate nest of bunkers guarding the ideal line, I’ve learned to appreciate the simpler, more elegant solution as well: the single bunker. In contrast to splashing sand everywhere, it is more difficult to distil from a layout one perfectly placed and ‘essential’ bunker location. You’re looking for a placement that might even dictate play on the shot prior, a bunker so pinpoint accurate that every player must eventually negotiate its request. The Road bunker at St Andrews is one of the most ideally placed bunkers in golf course architecture. While not the only bunker on the hole, its influence dictates play on almost any shot to and around the green, with potentially disastrous repercussions for miscalculated plans of attack. This single greenside bunker should weigh heavy on the mind and even influence tee shot placement if one is to genuinely consider reaching the green in two. Approach shots from the centre or right of fairway are ideal, and only from there can one realistically make a play for green. This bunker also sets up one of the most important leaves in golf. The short right and slightly more risky long left second shot options will avoid the bunker and leave a delicate pitch and putt for a par escape and joyous dash towards the home hole. The careless leave behind or around the bunker short will create confounding problems. My other favourite single bunker is on another famed seventeenth, at TPC Sawgrass. If the island green wasn’t enough, Pete Dye cleverly places a tiny pit on the island to stand watch over that tempting far right pin location and feeder slope for the more conservative line. Aside from the skinny access The opening hole at Prestwick in Scotland is flanked by a railway line. Drives close to the stone wall have a better angle of approach to the green 45