Having your own practice bunker can be the crucial step in finally thwarting the dreaded sand traps that mar your favourite golf course. Many people practice with trips to the driving range, even a putting green in their backyard. But very few people get effective practice of their chipping skills when dropped into a precarious situation. Building your own sand bunker can give you an edge against any golf partner.
Select a location for the sand bunker. On top of a hill is ideal, because it will allow you to view the full arc of a chip shot and will facilitate draining, ensuring that your new sand bunker doesn't become a mud pit.
Mark out an oblong shape with yard chalk. When considering the shape of your sand bunker, think back to meddlesome bunkers that have thwarted you in the past, or design your own. A lima bean shape will allow for a diversity of practice swings and situations.
Grab a shovel and begin digging. The deepest part of your sand bunker should be in the centre, with a depth of 1 to 2 feet. As you dig, curve up toward the sides, eventually bringing the edge of the bunker to level with the surrounding ground. Save the dirt to one side.
Lay down a layer of gravel in the bottom of the hole. This will prevent plants from growing through and will also facilitate drainage.
Line the hole with a tarp immediately above the layer of gravel. Make sure the tarp reaches all the way to the edge of the bunker to ensure that the sand doesn't mix with dirt. Punch a few small holes in the bottom of the tarp to allow water to drain through to the gravel.
Fill in the bunker with sand. You can find white play sand at most hardware stores. Fill to a few inches above the rim of the bunker to accommodate settling.
Surround the bunker with a border of dirt stuffed into burlap sacks. Using the dirt saved from earlier, the burlap sacks will help contain the sand and provide a smooth lip for your sand bunker.