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TURF TALK by Mike Stupica, Golf Course Superintendent

Bunkers, the four-letter word that is so bad it needs 7 let- ters to proclaim its displeasure in the golfing community. Why do golf courses have sand traps? For this answer I turned to the Internet and found an interesting article on ESPNMag.com. Kathryn Baker, curator, British Golf Mu- seum, St. Andrews, Scotland, states the first golf courses were built on linksland. Linksland is the land that connects the sea to the main land. You have a beach, an area of land consisting of mostly sand with native grasses, and then the main fertile land further inland. The area of land between the beach and the fertile land is called the linksland. This land wasn’t good for anything but grazing sheep or cattle. According to Glenn Waggoner of ESPN The Magazine the bored shepherds would use their herding sticks to knock petrified pieces of sheep dung into rabbit holes on the linksland. This could possibly be the first form of golf known to modern man. What about the bun- kers? Gordon Moir, Links Manager, R&A of St. Andrews, Scotland suspects the sheep would burrow around the sand dunes to take shelter from the wind and rain. These area be- came bunkers or as us Yanks call them sand traps. This all sounds good to me so when did the four letter word come in. I don’t know.

Bunkers are meant to be hazards, they are supposed to be difficult to execute a shot from, and according to the rules of golf should be this way. If this is true, why all the fuss? I think the PGA Tour is to blame. You’ve seen the commercials stating ‘these guys are good’. Nobody wanted to hear that. So what is the deal with the bunkers?

In my 17 plus years of experience in golf course mainte- nance I have never heard anyone say the bunkers were good.

There are several articles documenting the various opinions on how to build a bunker, what materials to use, and how to maintain them. Sand is the only common denominator in all the articles so lets talk about sand.

Sand comes in many shapes, sizes, and colors. They all have unique properties that will dictate its use for certain applications. We use river sand, which is mined here in Mississippi from various sand bars around this area. The sand is round in shape and typically white in color. It is generally on the coarse side as far as sand goes and does not pack well unless it is mixed with some sort of amend- ment. It has almost no capacity to hold moisture unless it is mixed with an amendment. This is really good for a sand based green. There are sands from other places that are more angular in shape, finer in texture, and tend to pack a little better. These will typically hold more moisture and do not drain as well. The USGA has done many tests to find the best sand for a sand bunker but like the rest of their testing the results are vague at best and pretty much include all soils that fall in the sand category. This leaves us in the same spot we were in when we started. What is the solution?

Maintenance is key to keeping decent bunkers. Bunkers should be rebuilt every 8 to 10 years and maintained daily to keep them as consistent as possible. This is a very expensive mainte- nance practice, which most courses cannot afford. We have some bunkers that have been mismanaged in the past and need to be re- built. We all agree on this fact but how and when should this oc- cur? Major bunker renovation is a very large and costly project to undertake. It takes considerable planning and time to complete. It is our goal to maintain a quality golf course for our members and bunkers are a major part of this effort. Rome was not built in a

day…so to speak.

Mike Stupica

18 MGA State

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Ladies

20 Ladies

21

Ladies

22 Ladies

23

Ladies

24 Wedding

Father/Son

State Amateur

State Amateur

State Amateur

State Amateur

State Amateur

Reception 4pm

Sun

Mon

Tue

Wed

Thu

Fri

Sat

1 Private Pool Party 6-9pm

2 Private Pool Party 6-9pm

3

4

5

6

7

8 JWGA 9am

9 Private Pool Party 6-9pm

10 Wedding Reception 7pm

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12

13

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15 MS Fami- lies For Kids

16 MGA State Father/Son

17 MGA State Father/Son

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1 Men’s Club Championship

2 Men’s Club Championship

3 Club Open

4 Club Open

5 Club Closed

6

7

8

June 2006

Page 2

CASTLEWOODS COUNTRY CLUB

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