How Hoover Country Club improved its bunkers

By Alistair January 23, 2024 07:39

Dealing with rain events is a normal situation for most courses around the world. But knowing that heavy rain is likely to cause an actual flood on your property is a different matter entirely!

That’s the reality facing LJ Robinson, superintendent at Hoover Country Club, south of Birmingham, Alabama. Patton Creek flows right through the club’s property, and Robinson knows that, after a major rain event, the creek is likely to break its banks and flood several holes – and their bunkers.

Built originally in the 1950s, Hoover went through a substantial renovation in 2010 at the hands of golf architect Bill Bergin, and a liner was installed in the course’s bunkers. But the effects of time – and of flooding – had meant that liner was no longer performing as it should. “There were a couple of bunkers where the current during a flood just went straight through them, ripped the liner to shreds, and left the bunkers full of mud,” he says. “We felt the bunkers had got to a point where they had degraded to such an extent that they weren’t performing any more, and we had to do something about it.”

‘Something’ in this case meant installing the Capillary Bunkers liner system, including the revolutionary Capillary Wash Box, which allows greens crews to pressure wash contaminated bunker sand and return it to its original condition. The project began in early August 2023, and was finished in mid-October, with contractor Duininck Golf handling the work.

“The installation was really easy,” says Robinson. “A concrete truck shows up at your property, the construction crew unloads the concrete to small trucks, takes it out to the course, puts two inches of it in each bunker, smooths it out, and you’re done.”

Having bunkers that he knows will drain water, on a site that is a mix of rock, silt and red clay, is a big gain for Robinson. But it’s the Wash Box, installed in all the bunkers that have a risk of flooding, that is really crucial.

“The Wash Box is a huge deal for us,” he says. “In the past, after a flood, we would skim our bunkers with flat shovels, but there was always some muck left over. With the Wash Box, we can skim, then connect a hose to the irrigation system and blast out the rest of the contamination. It will make a big difference for us.”


By Alistair January 23, 2024 07:39

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