Welcome to the newest feature at Butterfield Trail Golf Club.  Our Superintendent, Brad Wise, has been with Butterfield Trail since the grow-in in 2007 and has extensive knowledge in agronomy, golf course design, and maintenance of the facility.  If you have a question about the golf course, Brad can help you out! 

Check in every week to read what Brad is planning to do at the golf course.  Please email Brad Wise- Superientendent or Zach Frey- Head Golf Professional directly with any questions or comments. Brad Wise bwise@kempersports.com------Zach Frey zfrey@kempersports.com

Friday, February 10th 2017 Blog Post- Brad Wise:

What is the difference between a "formal bunker" and a "native bunker"?

  • It is important to understand that Butterfield Trail Golf Club has two different kinds of bunkers (formal and native).  The formal bunkers are located around the greens and are identified by bunker rakes places around the edges.  These bunkers are well kept and raked every morning by our maintenance staff.  The native bunkers are sand traps that resemble bunkers, however are not maintained due to keeping the natural look of the desert surroundings.


Today we are going to address the formal bunkers and their playability in the winter time/cooler months of the year. There are challenges in getting the bunker sand to have that consistent and loose feel that we are more accustomed to seeing in the summer/warmer months of the year. This past summer we continued with the renovation plan to the formal bunkers around the greens.   The most recent bunker to be renovated was the small formal bunker closest to the green on #2. Due to now having numerous formal bunkers on the golf course that have been renovated with the new sand mixture and still having approx. half the bunkers still in the original design we made it a priority to bring more consistency to all of our formal bunkers. The windy season in conjunction with the original bunkers provides challenges at times of the year which lead us to experiment with a powerful hand operated tiller in attempt to cultivate the sand while needing to not compromise the liner and drainage that are below the bunker sand. The below picture is what we are accustomed to seeing in the winter months with a very thin bunker lie after the formal bunkers have been prepared in the morning:


In the winter months, the bunker sand becomes extremely compacted with the cooler nights and even more so with the nights that drop into freezing temperatures. When you add winter precipitation into that equation the compacted soil intensifies due to the much slower rates of evaporation and the moisture being held in very cold soil temperatures. You are left with inconsistent bunkers in the sense that you have a thin layer of dry sand at the surface and a deep, compacted and moist layer of sand underneath. When the tiller or any type of cultivation is used in attempt to manicure the bunkers to equal the summer month conditions you would be left with a bunker that resembles the following picture: