“Our maintenance has been transformed”

By Alistair September 12, 2020 08:00 Updated

Last year a leading Hampshire venue embarked on its first-ever bunker upgrade, as the sand traps were not keeping up with the standard of the course. The ‘design and build’ contract has produced stunning results – for both golfers and greenkeepers.

Last September Durabunker began the first bunker renovation at Waterlooville GC, an English golf championship venue in Hampshire. The 18-hole lay out, designed by the great Sir Henry Cotton, was in need of a significant bunker upgrade.

A close up of the ‘Fully Sealed System’ showing DuraCrumb (Rubber Crumb Liner) and Durabunker Edge at Waterlooville

“The primary driver for the bunker renovation was the fact that our staff were spending endless hours trying to maintain them and despite their best efforts, the bunkers had become more of an eyesore than adding to the aesthetic appeal of the course. The membership was acutely aware of the issues in relation to playability and it was hurting us as a business to have tired, featureless bunkers whilst the other aspects of the course continued to improve. It was clear from all perspectives that the time had come to bite the bullet and invest in a bunker renovation,” commented Mark Wycherley, general manager.

The club met with several architects and contractors and explored a number of products before commissioning Durabunker on a ‘design and build’ contract.

Chris Marker, course manager, commented: “We recognised that the bunkers were in need of a complete overhaul. Being a clay-based course brings its particular challenges and the bunkers were ponding terribly, sometimes taking three to four days to dry out after heavy rains. They were suffering washout and frequent contamination and it was so difficult to get them into a playable state for the members, pretty demoralising for me and my team really and we’d more or less given up on them.

15th hole bunker before the renovation

“Durabunker were able to offer all the fundamental services we were looking for, under one umbrella. They provided us with some mock up computerised drawings of how the new bunkers might look on the golf course, they had a readily available team to tackle the project in its entirety from concept to completion and offered a free initial consultation. Once underway, they carried out drainage works, re-modelling of bunkers, construction of new bunkers, installation of liner, installation of Durabunker synthetic edge and all finishing works including tie in and turf reinstatement. It was a hectic and challenging time for me personally as it was the first renovation I’d been involved with and we also had an irrigation project running in parallel, but despite the inevitable challenges along the way, mostly due to the weather, I felt in safe hands throughout.”

Rhydian Lewis, owner at Durabunker, commented: “We offer several bunker liners in-house, to compliment Durabunker, and have worked with most bunker liners over the years, so are able to discuss and advise impartially on that particular aspect of any renovation. The club opted for DURAcrumb, our rubber crumb liner, on this occasion, resulting in the installation of our increasingly popular ‘Fully Sealed Bunker System’ where our synthetic bunker edge is installed directly on top of the liner to seal the entire system. The edges installed at Waterlooville were approximately eight inches in height, enough to give a crisp, defined bunker edge but not so much as to look out of place on a parkland course with regards design.

Finsihed bunkers on the 15th post renovation

“We made a design decision in collaboration with the club to reduce the area of sand by approximately 40 to 50 percent on some bunkers, representing significant cost and labour savings. Bunkers were disproportionate to the size of greens and the amount of sand was overpowering the green complexes. We discussed with the club the idea of creating more imaginatively shaped sand lines whilst balancing the need for ease of maintenance and steered them away from the large sprawling masses of fairly generic form that were prevalent before the renovation.”

So, a year on, what difference has the project made? A remarkable difference according to Chris Marker.

A design drawing from the design proposal

“The difference has been staggering. We had over 30 inches of rain between project completion and March 1, 2020, despite this, the bunkers looked no different in March to the day they were completed. The same can be said up to the present time, they look fantastic and perform even better. Our maintenance has been transformed, clean sand, no ponding, no raking sand back up bunker faces and bunkers permanently in play. There have been times when the course has been flooded, but the bunkers have remained dry and still playable. We can’t quite believe the difference. Whether clubs want to use Durabunker as a contractor or take up the self-install options Durabunker offer, I would recommend any course manager thinking of bunker renovation to include Durabunker in their discussions.”

Web: www.durabunker.com


By Alistair September 12, 2020 08:00 Updated

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