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The Bunkers At Whistling Straits

August 2010

The Straits' bunkers come in all shapes and sizes, from smaller than a hand rake to bigger than a cattle truck

Photography by Stephen Szurlej

HOW WE COUNTED 967 BUNKERS

Yes, I actually counted every bunker on the Straits Course, in two mornings in May, assisted by caddie Bob Palm. We walked the front nine in six hours and the back nine in five, a total of 22.3 miles. Using a contraption I'd made from a circular lamp globe and a hoe handle, we marked each bunker, pressing a trio of circles into the sand. The marks were invaluable when we found ourselves doubling back across a field of bunkers, unsure if we'd already been there. The eighth hole has the most bunkers (102), followed by the 18th (96). The 12th and 14th tie with the fewest (18). The biggest bunker is 300 yards long on the par-5 fifth, with lots of tentacles. Bob called it a spider bunker. Counting bunkers involved judgment calls. Was a bunker with islands of turf a single bunker? (Yes.) Were bunkers well left of the 10th, visible only from the adjacent Irish Course, really part of the Straits? (Yes, because they were right of a maintenance path separating the courses.) Would an abandoned, overgrown bunker count? (No.) Does the Straits have the most bunkers on any course in the world? Absolutely. Nothing else comes close. See a variety of the 967 bunkers we encountered. -- Ron Whitten

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