The art of the golf course bunker

Take a peek at eight unique, inspired bunkers, crafted to resemble a beloved beagle, a crabby course mascot and more.


Filed to: Bunkers

Golf course bunkers come in all shapes and sizes, but some of those shapes and sizes are a bit more clever and symbolic. Here, GCM spotlights some of the more distinct and, in some cases, colorful bunkers we’ve come across.


Update: Additional bunker art added January 2021.

Medinah Country Club
Medinah, Ill.

Medinah camel bunker
A curvaceous camel has graced the first hole of Course One at Medinah Country Club since Tom Bendelow designed it in the 1920s. The club’s founders, Shriners from Chicago’s Medinah Temple, incorporated Middle Eastern touches throughout the property, the camel being one of those. The present-day camel bunker was shaped during a renovation by Tom Doak completed in 2014. Thirty-eight-year GCSAA member Steven Cook, CGCS, MG, oversees maintenance at Medinah. Photo courtesy of Medinah Country Club


La Iguana Golf Course
Puntarenas, Costa Rica

Iguana golf course bunker
Golfers can glimpse a variety of wildlife at La Iguana Golf Course, but the facility makes sure its namesake lizard can’t be missed. The idea for the bermudagrass iguana, on No. 15, came from José Quesada, PGA director of golf at the 18-hole course, which borders a rainforest and the Pacific Ocean. Superintendent Douglas Gonzalez and crew keep the image crisp via fly mowing. Photo by Steven McBride


Talking Rock Golf Course
Chase, British Columbia

Talking Rock bear bunker
Beware the bear “trap”! Talking Rock Golf Course lies within the Skwlax territory (“black bear” in the Shuswap language) of the Little Shuswap Lake Indian Band. The 18-hole course, opened in 2007, is part of the Quaaout Lodge & Spa, which has weaved the black bear theme throughout its various attractions. The turf bear’s bunker “den” is on Talking Rock’s seventh hole. Photo courtesy of Talking Rock Golf Course

Bunker art added August 2015:

Harborside International Golf Center

Harborside International Golf Center
The nautical motif touches several aspects of the 36-hole Harborside International Golf Center in Chicago, so named for its proximity to Lake Michigan. The 216-yard, par-3 15th hole on the Port Course features an anchor-shaped island of turf set afloat in the middle of this fairway bunker. Ryan Tully, a 14-year GCSAA member, is the GCSAA Class A superintendent at Harborside. Photo courtesy of Harborside International Golf Center


Apple Tree Golf Course
Yakima, Wash.

Apple Tree Golf Course
Apples are aplenty — as both a theme and the fruits themselves — at Apple Tree Golf Course, situated amid a century-old apple orchard in Yakima, Wash. This bunker forms the leaf on the 17th-hole island green, with players accessing the green via the fruit’s “stem” walkway. John W. Hull, a 20-year member of GCSAA, heads maintenance at Apple Tree. Photo courtesy of Apple Tree Golf Course


Highland National Golf Course

Highland National Golf Course
St. Paul, Minn.

The Snoopy bunker on Highland National Golf Course’s 15th hole is an homage to “Peanuts” creator Charles M. Schulz, who learned how to play golf at the course in St. Paul, Minn., in the 1930s. Denise Kispert, a 20-year member of GCSAA, is the GCSAA Class A superintendent at Highland National. Photo by Google Earth


Colbert Hills Golf Course
Manhattan, Kan.

Colbert Hills Golf Course
Kansas State University’s wildcat mascot has left its mark on the fifth hole of Colbert Hills Golf Course in Manhattan, Kan., where Matthew Gourlay, CGCS, leads maintenance. Even the bunker’s sand sports school spirit, imbued with KSU’s signature purple. Photo by Roger Hammerschmidt


The Cedars at Dungeness
Sequim, Wash.

Old Crabby
Pincers primed, “Old Crabby” the Dungeness crab guards the third hole at The Cedars at Dungeness in Sequim, Wash., where three-year GCSAA member Ken Chace is the superintendent. A filling of red volcanic cinders from Bend, Ore., enhances the resident crustacean’s realistic look. Photo courtesy of The Cedars at Dungeness

Megan Hirt is GCM’s managing editor.