Duininck Golf has completed a renovation of the Robert Trent Jones II-designed course at the Edinburgh USA facility near Minneapolis, US.
“We tried to make the course more playable and easier to maintain by taking out a lot of the sand and introducing fairway grass in its place,” said Bruce Charlton, president and chief design officer at the Robert Trent Jones II firm. “Basically, we tried to dial up the ‘fun factor.’ The idea was to give players more options, especially around the greens. Unlike before, you’re not always in a bunker if you miss a green. We’ve greatly reduced the amount of sand around the putting surfaces.”
According to Charlton, players are now able to putt, chip or bump-and-run the ball onto the putting surface from the close-mown areas around the greens.
The project started as remedial work on the course’s bunkers, and grew from there, with every bunker on the course rebuilt and reshaped, and many removed in a bid to enhance playability.
Duininck Golf employed the Better Billy Bunker method to rebuild the Edinburgh USA sand traps, which uses a two-inch pea gravel layer that is sprayed with the patented Better Billy Bunker Polymer to bind the gravel together. This improves drainage, reduces washouts and eliminates silt contamination.
Of the bunkers, which were reduced in size and trimmed with bentgrass, Berry said: “There are almost no lips. They’re less costly to maintain and, from a playing perspective, they’re easier to get in and out of, which has improved the pace of play.”
“We had a horrible spring and the second-wettest June on record, yet Duininck Golf finished the job on time and under budget despite the adverse weather conditions,” said the course’s superintendent Tom Fischer. “They even brought in a second crew to make up for lost time.”
Following the work, there is now 62 fairway and greenside bunkers on the course, but they are smaller and shallower than the originals.
“Over a dozen bunkers were removed to make Edinburgh USA more fun and more playable,” said Fischer. “We went from 140,000 square feet of bunkers to 104,000 square feet.”
Tee boxes were also expanded at selected holes on the course, and trees were removed to wide fairways. Kicker slopes were introduced on the back sides of a few greens, and three greens were rebuilt – the first and third greens as well as the practice putting green.
“Duininck Golf re-contoured collection areas around the greens and added a total of four acres of turfgrass around the putting surfaces,” said Fischer. “The course is now easier for the average player from the forward tees, but it’s still a championship-calibre test for low handicappers from the back tees at 6,904 yards.”
“Duininck Golf finished within one week of the deadline and came in under budget,” concluded Berry. “The construction crew did a good job of catching up after the rainy spring – they fought through adversity to complete the renovation work and did an outstanding job.”