Has There Ever Been A Course Built Without Bunkers?


“Have you ever played a course without bunkers?”

That’s a question that Greg Norman posed during a dinner I had with him this past Friday night (Seriously. More about that in a later post)

When The Shark first asked the question, I suggested that if bunkers were intended as hazards, a properly designed course might not need them. Greg countered that bunkers—especially if groomed as they are on the tours—present no hazard at all. He said that when he was playing, he actually would often aim right at waste areas and sand traps, knowing that if he were to go in, he would get a predictable lie. The only way they would truly present a hazard, he said, was if they weren’t raked after play. The lies then would be unpredictable, and thus truly a hazard.

The upshot was that, if bunkers are not necessarily a hazard, perhaps they aren’t really needed.

So The Shark returned to the question: Have you ever played a course without bunkers?

I couldn’t recall playing a bunkerless course—or even hearing of one. Even the lowliest cow pasture courses I’ve played have a couple. And so Greg asked me to put the question to my readers:

“Have you ever played a course without bunkers?”

I await your response.


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7 thoughts on “Has There Ever Been A Course Built Without Bunkers?”

  1. There’s a few water hazards and large bushes off the edges of the fairways and some OB left/right off the fairways, but that’s really it.  Very easy course usually in good condition (I’m only up there during the summer when I visit my in-laws).

  2. When Kensington Golf Course (part of the Huron Clinton Metro Park system) was built, there were no bunkers.  The concept behind this design was to allow faster play.  Average golfers take longer when playing out of bunkers and the subsequent raking also adds time.

    About 20-30 years ago they updated the design and added some bunkers.

  3. “On a desert course, isn’t anything outside the fairway by definition a sand trap?”

    Well, yes. Except when the course is in an urban section of Mesa and surrounded by streets and old-folk housing. There are water hazards, though. Plus the occasional ticked off senior citizen…


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