Most golf players fear encountering a bunker. It can be difficult to maneuver your way out of one, and it takes a lot of practice to do it well consistently.
The depth of the bunker is often a key factor in how difficult the entire course is. Architects have created a lot of very creative courses with tricky bunkers that both excite and terrify golf players.
It is difficult to pinpoint the deepest golf bunker in the world because there are many bunkers of varying difficulty levels with the same depth.
This is why I’ve put together a list of the trickiest golf bunkers in the world.
Here Are The 10 Deepest Golf Bunkers In The World
The deepest golf bunker in the world is a 40 foot wide, 25 foot deep bunker called the Himalaya at Royal St. George Golf Course in Kent, England.
It is named after the Himalayan Mountain range (for good reason)
Others on the list of the scariest golf bunkers in the world are:
- Nunca Sera, Portugal
- “Hell Bunker” at St. Andrews
- The Church Pews in Oakmont, Pennsylvania
- The Coffin at Royal Troon in Scotland
- The Cape in Royal North Devon, UK
- The Whistling Straights in Wisconsin
- The Bunker at Riveria Country Club in California
Nunca Sera, Portugal
The Nunca Sera is located in the Krisirk Resort course in Portugal and was designed by Walther Mittë. It is widely believed to be one of the deepest golf bunker in the world.
He was asked to design something unique and unforgettable and has accomplished it. It is built on sand dunes 22 meters high and is one of the most challenging golf courses in the world.
The Old Course at St. Andrews
Known as the ‘Hell’ bunker, this bunker is 100 yards away from the putting ground. It is spread out over 300 yards and 7 feet deep, making it one of the deepest golf bunkers in the world.
It has put a lot of pro golfers to the test and is unanimously considered one of the toughest bunkers in the world.
There is a small pot bunker to its right known as the ‘Pulpit.’ One can look into Hell from the Pulpit.
Himalaya at Royal St. George’s
Himalaya is located on the 4th tee. It is carved into a dune and has a depth of 40 feet, making it believed to be the deepest bunker in the world.
It is also called the ‘Coffin’ and is a menacing challenge to everyone who faces it.
It can absolutely wreck your round if you are a beginner or amateur. Professional players can most often maneuver it, especially if the wind is in their favor.
However, if the wind is against you, it is difficult to cross the Himalaya successfully.
Church Pews in Oakmont, Pennsylvania
They used to be a cluster of 8 bunkers sandwiched between the 4th and 3rd holes at Oakmont. Sometime in the 1920s, they became one consolidated bunker.
Changes to the bunker were made yet again in 2005 by Tom Fazio.
This formidable bunker now has a length of 100 yards, and the width varies from 18 to 43 yards at different spots in the bunker.
They are called church pews because of the 12 turf islands laid horizontally across the bunker, giving the impression of pews in a church.
They stand at the height of 3 feet and pose a tremendous challenge if your ball lands anywhere near them.
A lot of professional players stay away from the Church Pews.
Tiger Woods did not practice shooting from the Church Pews before the 2007 US Open and stated that he would just avoid them.
The Coffin at Royal Troon, Scotland
The Coffin looks deceptively easy to face at only 123 yards. The Coffin is unforgiving at the 8th hole in the Royal Troon course, as it is almost impossible to hit a comfortable shot.
The lip of the bunker is steep, and the bunker is quite narrow, so it is unlikely that the ball will land in a good position or have an easy path out of the bunker. Even professional players are often bested by the Coffin.
Getting the ball out of the bunker and into any spot where you can continue playing is a difficult task, so tread with caution if you ever find yourself in the Coffin.
Cape at Royal North Devon, UK
The Cape is 80 yards wide, and it is extremely difficult to get out of. The bunker’s edge is lined with sleepers, which means that you need a significantly high shot to make it out of the bunker.
A bad shot or a mistake in judgment can land you in a lot of trouble in the Cape. Interestingly, the sleepers lining the bunker are made of boards salvaged from a pier.
The boards are 15 feet tall, so it is best to just hit out back if you cannot make the carry-on your first attempt.
This bunker is also unique because it was not designed or created artificially. It evolved on the course of its own.
A painting hanging in Royal North Devon confirms that it has existed on the course since the middle of the 19th century.
Whistling Straits, Wisconsin, US
The Whistling Straits in America are home to about 1,000 bunkers. They are not the deepest or most difficult, but the sheer volume and the wide range of dimensions make this lot of bunkers extremely difficult to navigate.
There are 96 bunkers just on the 18th hole of the course—most tracks have fewer bunkers on the whole course.
Perhaps the most memorable victim of the bunkers on Whistling Straits was Dustin Johnson during the USPGA in 2010. He thought he was hitting from a waste area, but it was actually one of the many bunkers on the course.
He grounded his club and found himself with a penalty of 2 strokes. Martin Kaymer was the final champion of the USPGA.
Bunker at Riviera Country Club, California
The Bunker at Riviera Country Club is not very deep, but it has one of the most complex designs. (Plus have you seen the trees at the Riviera golf course?)
There are a lot of changes in elevation through slopes inside the bunker, and it has a pot bunker right in the middle.
It is a very tricky trap and has bested many professional golf players. Four-putts are more common in this bunker than on any other hole on the PGA Tour.
This is definitely one of the most scary golf bunkers on the list.
Golf bunkers, or traps as they are known in America, are perhaps the most dreaded course feature for many players. It takes a lot of skill to navigate your way out of one.