Hazeltine renovates bunkers in preparation for 2016 Ryder Cup


Hazeltine renovates bunkers in preparation for 2016 Ryder Cup
Sean Dudley
By Sean Dudley

Duininck Golf has carried out a renovation of the bunkers at the Hazeltine National Golf Club as part of the club’s preparation for the 2016 Ryder Cup.

Located near the city of Minneapolis, US, the course was originally designed by Robert Trent Jones and has previously hosted the US Open, PGA Championships and US Women’s Open.

Ahead of the club’s hosting of the Ryder Cup’s 41st edition, Hazeltine turned to Duininck Golf to rebuild its bunkers which were previously prone to wash-outs.

“When Hazeltine National hired us, they gave us through the summer of 2015,” said Judd Duininck, a principal at Duininck Golf. “We told the club it was our goal to finish the project this fall, as we felt it was in the best interest of the club and our company both. Coincidentally, we wrapped up just a few days before Minnesota’s first major snowfall. The team worked hard to meet the challenge.”

In order to reconstruct almost all of the 107 bunkers on the Hazeltine course, Duininck Golf excavated down to the existing subgrades and provided detail shaping to return the bunkers back to their original design and shape. The Duininck team also installed new Prinsco drain tile, placed the gravel liners and installed the Better Billy Bunker system.

Work started at the course in mid-September, and the bunker renovations were completed by early November.

“We had a short completion window, and it was a big benefit for us to get the bunkers rebuilt this fall,” said Chris Tritabaugh, the club’s superintendent. “We wanted two full golf seasons under our belts before the Ryder Cup arrives in 2016. Duininck Golf delivered on this promise by adding resources to get the job done, both in terms of equipment and manpower.”

Of the bunkers, Tritabaugh said: “The bowl-like shapes that had eroded over time have been returned to the look that the Jones organisation intended for them. The sand follows the slope of the new liners perfectly. Over the long term, it will be much easier for us to maintain the shape and integrity of these rebuilt bunkers.”

Tim Rainey, a member of Hazeltine’s Ryder Cup executive committee, commented: “Duininck Golf was exceptional. We were extremely pleased with the results. Our steep-faced bunkers were prone to wash-outs due to Minnesota’s wet spring weather and summer thunderstorms. We were spending upwards of US$50,000 per year on bunker repairs. The bunker renovation was the right thing to do. We were gratified that Duininck Golf was able to mobilise enough staff to finish the work ahead of schedule. They did a tremendous job.”

The 2016 Ryder Cup will take place at Hazeltine from 27 September – 2 October 2016.