Golf Course Architecture - Issue 69, July 2022

60 the method to ensure they drained, hence bunkers set more into banks and kops above the general ground level.” So that is why bunkers became such a fundamental part of the golf architect’s vocabulary. Which makes the rest of this article somewhat hypothetical, or perhaps counterfactual, but no less interesting for that. The question is: how would golf designers deal with an inability to use sand bunkers? This may not ever become a real question – at least on the vast majority of projects – although, as our article from issue 66 (published in October 2021) on the growing global crisis in the supply of sand, shows, there is real pressure on golf to reduce its use of sand. But nevertheless, it is a good way to challenge the creativity of golf architects. The deepest irony of this question is that it is the courses where sand is most natural – the links – that could best cope with bunkers being forbidden. The kind of random contour that is so common on linksland can provide plenty of challenge and interest for golfers without the excavation of bunkers – but when turf is underpinned by native sand, it is very easy and natural to remove some of that grass to create a hazard. “If you said we can’t do earthworks then mowing line angles would be the main feature of the design, I think,” says Hiseman. “Actually, I’d like to do a course with no bunkers, just to see how creative I can be without that crutch. I like a number of courses that don’t have them.” “It is somewhat a shame that natural non-sand hazards didn’t become the norm!” says the veteran Welsh designer David Williams. “It would have made fitting a course into an inland site and laying the course gently on the landscape a much easier and probably more rewarding task! I am not a fan of the inland links’ solution, where the golf course is totally out of character with the surrounding and underlying landscape, so I suppose the best nonbunker solution is using a variety of native grass species, defining differing fairway widths and angles from the tee and to the green, even some subtle grass hollows and swales of different grass heights and types. But without the ‘wow’ factor of dramatic bunkering, it can often be difficult to BUNKERLESS HOLES The bunkerless seventeenth on the West course at Wentworth has a severe drop to the right of the green