The golf industry in the US state of Florida creates around US$2 billion dollars a year. Though priorities were very much changed when Hurricane Irma struck in September 2017, part of the considerable recovery efforts focused on ensuring that all the state’s assets, including its golf courses, were ready to go as soon as possible.
Talis Park Golf Club in Naples, Florida, is home to a course originally designed by Greg Norman and Pete Dye, which opened in 2004.
The course suffered significant damage from the hurricane, and the club turned to Greg Norman Golf Course Design (GNGCD) to provide support in a time of need.
“While the course did lose some trees, the primary cause of damage to the course was erosion to all 106 of its bunkers,” said Jeff Danner, senior design associate at GNGCD. “Talis was built on a reclaimed site having almost all its features created from fill material brought in during construction. The initial bunker style was slightly irregular, with steep grass faces reflecting characteristics seen on other Dye courses. Unfortunately, the heavy rains saturated the soil enough to cause all bunker faces to collapse into their sand bottoms rendering them unplayable.”
GNGCD was brought in to bring the Talis Park course back up to scratch, working closely with superintendent Kevin Shields and contractor Glase Golf to introduce the Capillary Concrete system to the bunkers. “We wanted to achieve functionality and performance, while allowing for more maintenance efficiency for the long term,” said Danner.
“All bunkers were demoed, salvaging only drainage chambers that were still in suitable condition for reuse,” Danner added. “All bunkers and their surrounds were reshaped, softening steeper slopes to prevent future erosion and improve maintenance on the grass faces. Sand lines were raised to flash a little higher, increase visibility and allow the use of Capillary Concrete to not only improve bunker playability and performance, but also to provide more stable support for bunker surrounds and decreased probability of erosion.”
Work commenced in October 2017 and was completed in mid-January of this year. Danner reports that the project has been a great success and members are enjoying not only the visual quality of the course, but the performance and playability of the bunkers as well.
“They have been performing well, thus far and have been much better from a maintenance standpoint,” Danner said. “The bunkers have received praise from the members for being more playable and eye-catching.”