Installing sod bunker floors eliminates bunker sand pollution from gravel bunker floors. It’s a cheaper alternative to bunker liner installations. Bunker liners average about .70 US per square foot for the material only. Labor installation costs of .30 US are typical. Sod bunker floors cost about half the price of bunker liners. They work well on sharp, steep bunker faces.
I’ve installed a few bunker liners myself and I can attest to the time it takes to cut fabric and bang in staples every six inches. Keying in the fabric on slopes also takes time and effort. Call-backs on shifted bunker liner are common.
To install sod bunker floors, begin by removing existing bunker sand. The intent is to maintain the current bunker floor elevation, so the bunker floor must be excavated out an inch or so below the sand elevation. The excavation depth is based on the thickness of the sod. If you want to go deeper, now is the time. I’d also replace the internal bunker drainage piping while you have the bunker excavated.
Don’t be fussy about the sod. In the Northeast US, we look for a second-tier (#2) bluegrass sod. Some prefer 4 foot wide rolls and others like strips. Look for a dense, loamy sod with a thick thatch layer (Sod vendors love to get this type of sod off their property.)
The sod can be installed green side up, and sprayed with Roundup to kill all the crowns. A better option is to install the sod upside down. You won’t need to play with Roundup, and the firm loamy surface will be easy to work on.
Don’t cover the bunker drainage lines with sod. Use a geofabric covered drain tile and backfill the pipe with bunker sand. Try one bunker to access golfer acceptance.