Abstract: Give your members a break by installing stairs on sharp bunker faces.
Sharp bunker faces require wooden stairs. Golfers need quick access from deep bunkers. They don’t want to slip on sharp slopes. I installed a set of stairs in a bunker using the methods described below.
The subject bunkers have very sharp (1:1 ) slopes. The bunkers are depressed from the surrounding grade. The distance from the bunker floor to the top of one of the bunker face is six feet. Don’t think that a delusional modern architect designed these bunkers; they were built in the 1920’s.
Three bunker stairways, in three bunkers, needed replacement. Note that a bunker slope project was underway during this project. On an adjoining bunker, I suggested moving one set of stairs a few feet toward the tee; this hide the stairs from the tee. I installed a stake on the bottom and top of slope. This became the centerline of the stairway. The golf course superintendent approved the location, and I measured two feet right and two feet left to locate the stair width.
I next measured the run, or length, of the stairway. After establishing the exact point of the back of the top tread, I marked the location of the forward edge of the bottom tread. A 2 x 4″ stud, 8 feet long, provided a reference point for the width. I plumbed ( made the board perfectly vertical by using a level) the board, and I measured the distance from the top of the 2 x 4 to the top of the stairway. I used a level to determine the height of the stairway. To clarify: the 2 x 4 carries the bottom location of the forward step straight up. By keeping the 2 x 4 vertical, the measurement will be accurate. Sight grade with your eye on the level to determine the stair height.
One bunker measured 48″ of rise and 48″ of run. Assuming an 8″ stair rise (the height of each step), I needed 6 stairs. I subtracted two stairs because I didn’t want a stair on the top and the bottom of the stairway. I added an extra board at the bottom of the stairway to provide additional stability (see photo below). We filled over this board with bunker sand.
The run is 48″, so I constructed 4 stairs plus the space taken by the deleted top and bottom stair. The width of each stair is 8″, based on a 48″ run and 6 stairs spaces (with 4 actual stairs). I constructed the stairs with pressure treated 2 x 10 stock. The extra length of the treads was added to the bottom, or back of the stair, hidden out of view. I screwed each stair into the each stringer (the side boards) with long, galvanized screws.
Be careful to recess the stair into the bunker face. You don’t want the edge of the stair sticking out.
After sodding, the bunker stairs provided a safe bunker exit point.