International golf design practice Thomson Perrett & Lobb has completed a two year rebunkering programme at the Richmond Golf Club in south-west London.
Located alongside the historic Richmond Great Park, and with a grand Palladian clubhouse that was designed by architect James Gibbs for the second Duke of Argyll, the Richmond club was founded in 1891. Its eighteen hole golf course was originally designed by Scottish professional Tom Dunn, but has been extensively renovated over the years.
Richmond now has a total of 58 bunkers, around half of which are new. The rest have been entirely rebuilt under the supervision of TPL principal Tim Lobb and senior design associate Andrew Goosen. Located on a very compact site next to the 2,500 acre Richmond Park, the golf course is relatively short course at 6,091 yards, and Lobb says that a key goal of the project was to provide a good level of challenge to all standards of golfer.
“Before we started work, Richmond was a fairly easy course for good golfers, but very difficult for weaker players,” Lobb said. “Most of the fairway bunkers were around 220-230 yards from the tees, not really in play for stronger golfers, and many were set to catch short slices, exactly the sort of miss that weak players typically make. The greenside bunkers were mostly set quite a distance from the putting surface, again challenging the weak more than the strong. By relocating many bunkers, we have tried to reverse this, and make the course more playable for the weak and more challenging for the strong.”
Key bunkers have been lined with Blinder, a new product made from recycled rubber. Lobb and Goosen worked closely with Richmond course manager Les Howkins to devise an appropriate solution for edging the bunkers. “We wanted to have a clearly defined edge that would be easy to maintain, but also give a historic feel suitable for a course dating from the 1890s,” said Lobb. “Along with Les, we came up with the idea of creating a wall of revetted turf – which is up to nine inches high in places – and then rolling turf over the face to create the edge. Fescue grasses around the bunkers give an aesthetically pleasing ‘fluffy’ appearance, but the edge of the bunker is clear and maintenance friendly.”
Richmond general manager John Maguire said: “Selecting TPL to rebunker our course has proved to be a great decision. During the two phases of work, they were on site very frequently, and their excellent partnership with Les and his team meant the construction work was completed quickly, efficiently and to a very high quality. The members and our guests are delighted with the new-look course.”