Tuesday, 1 February 2011

10 Things I Don't Like in Design - Target Bunkers

The bunker straight out is a good example
The ideal bunker is one that you have to either fly over or skirt by in order to gain a clear advantage on the hole. When you stand over the ball, you should be conflicted between the advantages that you can gain versus the punishment you may receive for being too ambitious.

The target bunker is largely a modern concept. Robert Trent Jones began the practice of bunkering the inside and outside of a dogleg to require absolute precision of driving.  Architects in turn were drawn to the definition that this design philosophy created and set about utilizing the ideas to suit their own philosophy. Most Architects adapted this to a more playable model than Jones.  As the bunkers were moved further away from the landing zone were enlarged we ended up with bunkers that were out of reach but ideal for aiming at.  Hence the target bunker was born. Players have become used to this luxury and architects now routinely add the bunkers because of their popularity.

Bunkers on the right are completely out of play

The dominant style of architecture in the 1980’s and 1990’s believed in clarity of task. While the designs contained challenge, interest and even options, they also included target bunkers designed to make direction and placement absolutely understandable from the tee. Their philosophy was not interested in discovery and because the tasks were so well defined instead sought clarity.

I believe the bunkers on the inside of the hole are the ones that define the challenge and create risk and reward scenarios. The only real use for a target bunker is to provide a line when there is no other feature available for a player to focus on. I’ll argue forever that with trees, long grass and landforms all found on the outside of holes target bunkers are completely unnecessary, expensive and a waste of resources to maintain.  

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