A bunker and green renovation project has been completed at Naas Golf Club in County Kildare, Ireland, by a team from ReGolf.
Having completed a masterplan for the club in 2014, the firm worked to introduce a more classical, grass-down bunker style, and rebuild three completely new greens while renovating seven others.
The project’s first phase began in December 2015 and was completed in March 2016. During this time, the team had to battle against no fewer than eight storms.
Work on the second phase began in September 2016 and was completed in January 2017, with DAR Golf Construction working as the project’s contractor.
To meet the club’s desire to have a more classical, older bunker style, O’Brien and the team took the intriguing decision to introduce revetted bunkers to what is a traditional Irish parkland course. This was given the backing of greenkeeper Dave Behan and a course development committee chaired by John Grogan.
GCA caught up with architect Paul O’Brien from ReGolf to discuss the work.
“The bunker style we employed at Naas GC was perhaps the single biggest appearance change,” he explained. “We decided to introduce a steep faced, grass-down varying bunker lip to the bunkers. To achieve this, we used layering of fescue turf in a links revetted manner. While this style would normally increase the maintenance required, this increase was offset with the total sand area being reduced from over 6,000 sq m to just under 3,000 sq m for the entire course.”
“Allowing the fescue to grow outwards gives us the steep grass-down faces we want,” O’Brien added. “By keeping grass on the faces and by cutting, strimming and flymoing these faces, we are also hoping to add rigidity to the structure of the face and prevent collapse. Also, shadows now play an important part in making the sand and grass bunkers appear sinister and hazards to be avoided.”
Over time, O’Brien expects to see the faces break down and have a more natural appearance.
“Being fescue, it shouldn’t require as much strimming or flymo work as rye or another grass species might,” he said. “The club and greenkeeper were happy to offset the extra maintenance of the faces because we will have reduced by over 50 per cent the total bunker sand area once the entire masterplan has been implemented.”