Church Pews Bunker, Golf Term

In golf, the term “Church Pews bunker” refers to a specific type of hazard or bunker that features a series of parallel sand ridges or mounds resembling the wooden benches commonly found in church pews. This term is primarily used in reference to the iconic bunkers found on the 3rd and 4th holes of the South Course at Oakmont Country Club in Pennsylvania, USA. These bunkers are known for their unique appearance and challenging nature.

Here are a few key points about the Church Pews bunker:

  1. Appearance and Design: The Church Pews bunker is characterized by a series of long, narrow sand ridges that run parallel to each other, resembling the rows of pews in a church. The ridges are typically raised and can vary in height and spacing. The overall design creates a visually striking and distinctive hazard on the golf course.
  2. Location: The original Church Pews bunkers are located on the South Course at Oakmont Country Club. They are situated between the 3rd and 4th fairways, creating a challenging obstacle for golfers playing those holes. Due to the unique nature of these bunkers, the term “Church Pews bunker” has been adopted by golfers to describe similar bunker designs on other courses.
  3. Difficulty and Strategy: The Church Pews bunkers pose a significant challenge to golfers. The narrow ridges can make it difficult to advance the ball towards the green, requiring precise shot placement and careful club selection. Golfers may face challenges such as awkward lies, limited stance options, and the potential for the ball to become lodged between the ridges.
  4. Recognition and Legacy: The Church Pews bunkers at Oakmont Country Club are well-known in the golfing world and have become synonymous with the course. They have been featured in major championships, including the U.S. Open. The unique design and strategic demands of the bunkers have contributed to their recognition and the reputation of Oakmont as a demanding and prestigious golf venue.

While the term “Church Pews bunker” originated from Oakmont Country Club, it has been used by golfers to describe similar bunker designs found on other courses worldwide. The term captures the distinct visual appearance and challenging nature of these unique hazards.

A large bunker with long strips of turf lying side by side within its borders; the strips look like church pews, hence the name. The original Church Pews bunker lies between the third and fourth holes at Oakmont Country Club near Pittsburgh, Pa.