A recent sales call to a windy golf course identified severe sand migration paranoia. When the course was built twenty years ago, sturdy ocean breezes made the golf course builder use a gravelly bunker sand containing a mixture of tiny gravel aggregates. The superintendent just rolled his eyes when he described the pinging he heard every time he mowed greens. One golfer claimed the sand cost him two sand wedge replacements.
The golfers at this private club wanted to replace the sand-gravel with modern bunker sand but they didn’t want to invest in a bunker sand that would turn into fairway or green topdressing. In the Northeast USA, bunker sand consists of bank run sand that is screened and blended with silt. This mixture results in bunker sand that resists “fried egg” lies. Many windy courses use this blend. I have noticed some sand migration along the bunker sand/sod transition area, especially when facing a predominant wind.
A specially blended high silt sand will solve the problem. A local golf sand vendor sells this product (he got real evasive when I asked him how he made it). A few courses are using this sand to maintain steep bunker faces. It blends perfectly with the usual high-density bunker sand and playability doesn’t seem a problem. I’m working with the club to install two bunker sands in their windiest bunkers. I’ll report on my findings in a future post.