The art of the golf course bunker

Take a peek at five unique, inspired bunkers, crafted to resemble a beloved beagle, a crabby course mascot and more.

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Golf course bunkers come in all shapes and sizes, but some of those shapes and sizes are a bit more clever and symbolic. This month, GCM spotlights some of the more distinct and, in some cases, colorful bunkers we’ve come across.

Harborside International Golf Center
Chicago

Harborside International Golf Center
The nautical motif touches several aspects of the 36-hole Harborside International Golf Center in Chicago, so named for its proximity to Lake Michigan. The 216-yard, par-3 15th hole on the Port Course features an anchor-shaped island of turf set afloat in the middle of this fairway bunker. Ryan Tully, a 14-year GCSAA member, is the GCSAA Class A superintendent at Harborside. Photo courtesy of Harborside International Golf Center

Apple Tree Golf Course
Yakima, Wash.

Apple Tree Golf Course
Apples are aplenty — as both a theme and the fruits themselves — at Apple Tree Golf Course, situated amid a century-old apple orchard in Yakima, Wash. This bunker forms the leaf on the 17th-hole island green, with players accessing the green via the fruit’s “stem” walkway. John W. Hull, a 20-year member of GCSAA, heads maintenance at Apple Tree. Photo courtesy of Apple Tree Golf Course

Highland National Golf Course

Highland National Golf Course
St. Paul, Minn.

The Snoopy bunker on Highland National Golf Course’s 15th hole is an homage to “Peanuts” creator Charles M. Schulz, who learned how to play golf at the course in St. Paul, Minn., in the 1930s. Denise Kispert, a 20-year member of GCSAA, is the GCSAA Class A superintendent at Highland National. Photo by Google Earth


Colbert Hills Golf Course
Manhattan, Kan.

Colbert Hills Golf Course
Kansas State University’s wildcat mascot has left its mark on the fifth hole of Colbert Hills Golf Course in Manhattan, Kan., where Matthew Gourlay, CGCS, leads maintenance. Even the bunker’s sand sports school spirit, imbued with KSU’s signature purple. Photo by Roger Hammerschmidt

The Cedars at Dungeness
Sequim, Wash.

Old Crabby
Pincers primed, “Old Crabby” the Dungeness crab guards the third hole at The Cedars at Dungeness in Sequim, Wash., where three-year GCSAA member Ken Chace is the superintendent. A filling of red volcanic cinders from Bend, Ore., enhances the resident crustacean’s realistic look. Photo courtesy of The Cedars at Dungeness


Megan Hirt is GCM’s managing editor.