Pennard bunker renovation on track for winter completion

Pennard bunker renovation on track for winter completion
Sean Dudley
By Sean Dudley

The bunker renovation project at Pennard Golf Club near Swansea, Wales, which incorporates the installation of the EcoBunker artificial revetting solution, is expected to be completed this winter.

Pennard’s decision to adopt EcoBunker came in late 2015, as natural sod revetting that had been installed less than a year earlier was collapsing. With sandy soil and steep banks that attract burrowing animals, the upkeep of bunker faces and edges is a continuous, expensive problem for the greenkeeping team.

One of Pennard’s US-based overseas members had seen EcoBunker at Mosholu GC, New York and having previously worked with golf architect Tom Doak , introduced him to the club. Doak recommended his Scotland-based associate Clyde Johnson to oversee the shaping work on the first bunkers, setting a design style for the club to follow with future work.

Johnson and Doak were clear and consistent in their view that the revetted shaped faces should not follow the geometrically perfect examples so often seen on links courses, and instead take the form of more natural and irregular features set into the ‘hummocky’ terrain. This is a design style that the staff at Pennard have worked very hard to emulate.

Doak visited the site in February 2016 to review the work. Alongside the reconstruction of the club’s 30 bunkers, initial plans are now being drawn up for some additional course improvements, including a possible modification of the 16th green, which has an attractive setting on the cliffs, but is considered by some to be too steep.

The club management team and members are delighted with the results so far. The next phase of bunkers is likely to follow a more rugged look, with EcoBunker supplying 1,000 sprigs of marram grass. A similar aesthetic has been achieved at nearby Southerndown Golf Club.

Following the project’s completion, Pennard GC expects to save approximately £10,000 per annum on materials and staff time, even though they have relatively few bunkers.

EcoBunker’s success in Wales is in part due to the firm’s involvement in a seminar roadshow. On behalf of the Golfing Union of Wales, Pennard’s course and club manager Huw Morgan invited civil engineer and EcoBunker inventor Richard Allen to participate, promoting a more sustainable approach to golf course management.

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