A bunker renovation and reconstruction project is taking place at Chart Hills Golf Club in Kent, UK.
New private owners took over Chart Hills – which is home to a course originally designed by American architect Steve Smyers for Nick Faldo’s design practice – in late 2016. The new owners are also in charge of The Buckinghamshire – where a major renovation project recently reached completion – as well as Castlemartyr in Ireland, Tracy Park Golf Club near Bristol, UK, and Old Thorns Golf Club in Hampshire, UK.
Conor J Walsh Golf has been hired as the project’s contractor, and GCA caught up with Walsh to find out more about the work.
“In the last couple of years, Chart Hills hasn’t been particularly well looked after,” Walsh said. “The new owners are therefore investing in the golf course and upgrading it.”
The greenkeepers at Chart Hills started bunker works in 2016, but with around 90 bunkers on the golf course of various sizes, this proved something of a mammoth task.
“My crew has been in helping the greenkeepers for the last couple of months, prepping the bunkers and introducing the EcoBunker revetted bunker design, while the liner in the base is a Topsport product,” Walsh explained.
Chart Hills is home to the infamous Anaconda bunker, and part of Walsh’s work is focused on this.
“The Anaconda is thought to be the longest bunker in Europe, and that’s what I’m currently working on,” Walsh says. “With regards to the Anaconda, the strategy hasn’t changed, but the bunker will have a more sound construction, helping to prevent washouts. Over the past 25 years the maintenance of the bunker has changed the look of it, so we’re aiming to bring it back to how it would’ve looked originally.”
Walsh and his team began work at Chart Hills in mid-March, and are hoping to have everything completed by the end of August 2017.
“The strategy of the golf course isn’t going to change, and what Faldo did here with the bunkers 25 years ago remains,” Walsh added. “All we’re looking to do is bring the course back to how they would’ve looked back then. The outlook of the owners is to invest in this place and bring it back to its former glory, and we’re trying to help with that.”