Summary: Bunker liners are synthetic barriers installed between bunker floors and sand. They are sold in various configurations discussed in this post.
I’ve heard all the sales pitches from bunker liner salesman. Some talk about the adhesion and drainage capability of each fabric. They claim that sand sticks better to a rough fabric. They insist on selling twenty pounds of steel staples for each bunker. I’ve spent a few days installing bunker liner staples and I learned that installing staples every six inches is time consuming. I needed a new pair of work boots because the bunker liner is very abrasive.
I did a job for a hard-working super who runs a heavily-played municipal golf course. His limited budget and plethora of bunkers required cost innovation. His bunker floors are rocky sand, so he needs a barrier to keep out the bad stuff. He uses Mirafi cloth, a cheap geofabric available in big rolls from a local supplier. He staples it down, and installs 6″ of compacted bunker sand. The cloth is permeable and tough. The cloth is black, but it doesn’t show if the sand depth is properly maintained.
Another project involved undercutting the bunker floor 6″, and installing silt in the void. After the material is compacted, new drainage tile is installed. I always install drainage tile, even if it the bunker floor is dry. Someday it will rain six inches, and the bunker will drain.
My cohorts worked on a bunker renovation project that involved the installation of a two-part foam on the bunker floor. This is a more complex version of styrofoam, a chemical compound that expands when mixed and sprayed.
I’ve seen a product called Stabilizer, a mix of stone dust and a binding agent. I had a bad experience with this product. The material softens when wet, and if it gets mixed with the bunker sand, you have a 10 Ton pile of useless sand.
The best bunker floor is firm, clean bunker subsoil that compacts. Install drainage tile and you’ve got a cheap, functional floor. If not, explore the options above.