Some of the craziest bunkers I've seen on golf vacations

Have you ever played a golf course with a "theme" bunker?

A theme bunker is one that's shaped into a recognizable symbol, usually one that ties into the course's name, heritage or, college affiliation.

I've seen bunkers shaped like cartoon characters, animal paws...even a human hand.

Here are some of the crazier ones I've come across in my travels -- some of which might leave you shaking your head in disbelief.

Animals

Bear: Bear Creek Country Club in Woodinville, Wash., has a bunker complex in the shape of -- what else? -- a bear paw.

Pig: The owners of the Honey Baked Ham Company have a pig-shaped bunker on the 10th hole of their Elk Ridge Golf Course in Atlanta, Mich.

Crab: At the Cedars at Dungeness golf course at the 7 Cedars Resort in Sequim, Wash., "Old Crabby" guards the corner of the third hole, a 490-yard, dogleg right par-five.

Monkey: This one isn't really a bunker as much as a grassy area within a bunker, but it was too unique not to include. You'll find it on the Green Monkey course at Barbados' Sandy Lane resort (where Tiger Woods got married)

Characters

Mickey Mouse: On the sixth hole of Disney's Magnolia Course in Florida, there's a bunker shaped like Mickey's ears.

A giant: As you tee off on the third hole at Giant's Ridge in Biwabik, Minn., you stare down a fairway corridor with what looks like a massive sand footprint left by a giant.

Snoopy: The city of St. Paul, Minn.'s National Golf Course has a bunker shaped like Charlie Brown's dog Snoopy on the 15th hole to honor cartoonist Charles Schulz who played and caddied there.

Dick Tracy: The ninth hole of Cantigy Golf's Lakeside course in Wheaton, Ill., has a bunker shaped like the profile of Dick Tracy.

College/University Mascots

Clemson University: On the 17th hole of the school's Walker Course, the green and surrounding bunkers form the school's recognizable "Tiger Paw" logo.

Kansas State University: Similar idea at Colbert Hills, where you'll find the "Cat's Paw" bunker complex on the fifth hole. I believe another hole has bunkers shaped like "J" and "C" for namesake Jim Colbert.

OSU: Between the ninth and 10th holes of Ohio State University's Scarlet Course, you can almost make out O, S, and U-shaped bunkers.

Everything Else

Fruit: On the 17th hole at Apple Tree Golf Course in Yakima, Wash., is green is shaped like an apple, a bunker forms its leaf, and the walkway to the green is the stem.

States: The Cottonwood Valley course at the Four Seasons Hotel and Resort in Irving, Texas has this Texas-shaped green and an Oklahoma-shaped bunker combo.

Initials: Kings North at Myrtle Beach National in South Carolina has "S" and "C" shaped bunkers next to the 12th green.

Fleur de Lis: Lakewood Golf Club near New Orleans has several theme bunkers, including this fleur de lis.

Human Hand: Like the Green Monkey "bunker" at Sandy Lane, the sand on the 17th hole at The Montgomerie Dubai isn't a hand, but it helps to form it.

What do you think about "theme" bunkers? Charming...or cheesy? Have you come across any that I missed? Please share your comments below.

Craig Better is one of the founding editors of Golf Vacation Insider. In addition to traveling to 15 foreign countries, he has twice traveled across America to play golf courses in all 50 United States. Prior to joining Golf Vacation Insider, Craig was a freelance writer who contributed to GOLF Magazine, Travel + Leisure Golf, Maxim Magazine, USAToday.com, and co-authored Zagat Survey’s book, America’s Top Golf Courses.
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Some of the craziest bunkers I've seen on golf vacations
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