Between the opening of the new Sheep Ranch at Bandon Dunes, the reopening of Eisenhower Park outside Baltimore and whispers I'm hearing about some more low-profile projects, 2020 feels destined to be the year that bunkerless golf courses become cool. I hope you'll forgive me for going against the grain, but I love complicated, artistic bunkers. If a developer is willing to spend the money for a given bunker's construction and upkeep, it might as well be cool to look at, right?
My favorite bunker on the planet is along the right side of the seventh hole at the Dye Course at PGA Golf Club in Port St. Lucie, Florida. About 70 yards from end to end, it's technically a complex of five bunkers: two large ones and three of late architect Pete Dye's trademark pots. One of those pots is inside a grass island inside a large, main bunker. It's Bunkerception! Farther along, that same larger bunker juts into an upside-down lowercase y-shaped grass island, creating the effect of a fourth pot bunker for golfers unlucky enough to hit an errant shot in a specific spot.
From ground level, the complex looks like a dozen or more individual bunkers because of the way the mounding peeks just into view several times. But as you walk or drive by, it reveals itself as a cohesive piece of mixed-media land art. Something given to golfers by a man who was not just a designer of golf course but a trickster god.