Recent Member surveys continue to highlight the biggest single area of concern as the bunkers on our course. Members may rest assured that your Greens Team do listen and this issue brings you up to date with proposals to facilitate overall improvements.
The last major work on the 60 bunkers took place some 10 years ago when around £80,000 was spent on a major re-think on the construction, shaping and positioning throughout the course. The latter element remains positive but time has taken its toll on the other aspects meaning that the next stage of work is now necessary.
Bunker bases have deteriorated for a number of reasons i.e. rainfall, high winds, raking and compaction. This has resulted in a lack of consistency within the bunkers with the sand also becoming contaminated by debris from the bases, soil from the steeply sloped lips and blocked drains. Additional contaminates are top dressing ‘spread’ from greens and grass cuttings from nearby mowing.
With the Members concerns foremost in mind we have looked closely at many other courses, with differing financial budgets, from different parts of the UK. From this research we have now settled on a specific style of bunker that we believe will take us through the next few years and this is now evident on those recently changed around 6th green.
Drainage has been renewed, bases have been levelled and the “lips” around the bunkers have been removed. The sand area in the base has been reduced but the gather area around the bunkers has been increased so players must remain very wary of where they put their ball off the tee – a shot to the right might have been safe before the work but it might not be now!
It is hoped that reduced maintenance time will also be achieved and other bunkers will be changed as finances allow. The 8th hole is next in line in January and it is hoped to see another hole done in February – details will be released as soon as possible.
Reference is often made about the sand that is used, presently it is Redhill 32 grade from Banks Amenity. Given that we have used around 160 tons in the last 6 years this is always under review but with other high class courses, including Woburn, taking the same grade it remains as the best option for us too.
Finally, we are looking at converting some of the least used sand bunkers into grass bunkers. Nothing has been finalised yet but full details will be announced when decisions are made.
MJC – for the Greens Committee
5th December 2017