Bunkers

Bunkers are the purgatory of the golfing universe. Who was that early pioneer who thought that it would be fun to dig deeper and deeper into the dunes in a vain effort to manipulate the ball to the sunlit uplands taunting above? I blame Old Tom Morris for deciding life would be too easy if a golfer simply had to keep hacking his way through the long grass to reach the Elysian Fields. There is something about bunkers....I play so much of my golf fighting the revetted faces of the great links of Scotland, hoping to splash the ball elegantly and vertically out next to the laughing flag above the depths to which I have descended. The sort of bunkers which haunt me can ruin a scorecard or change a match in an instant – THERE IS NO ESCAPE...As the legendary caddie once said ‘He had better get oot soon or folk’ll think he works doon there’. And of course if you don’t get out first time...you certainly won’t second time, and then you will go backwards and fly into the rough beyond. In a recent medal, I saw a delicate downhill chip disappear off a glass-like green into the maw of a monster on the far side of the green, I promptly came flying out back over whence I had come, astonishingly the ball was found by my partner’s caddy in the deepest of rough, duly declared unplayable, and I was fortunate to escape with a quintuple bogey 9 with any prospect of ducking under 90 disappearing in an instant. But don’t get me started on wet sand – all the elegant instructions about opening the clubface and swinging along the line of the club DON’T WORK when the sand is like cement. The new rules seem to suggest you can throw the ball out of the chasm in extremis - I suppose the two shot penalty is a modest price to pay compared to the seven or eight shots one might otherwise take, but it does not make me feel any friendlier towards the craters that pockmark our great links. At Traigh we have three timid little sanded bunkers but plenty of so-called ‘grass bunkers’, all costing a shot - but not a scorecard! So here is my thought on the terror, a picture I did for a friend to remind him of the bunkers round the 7th or indeed the 13th at Muirfield.....

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David Shaw Stewart