Southerndown GC improves bunkering with EcoBunker construction method


Southerndown GC improves bunkering with EcoBunker construction method
Sean Dudley
By Sean Dudley

The EcoBunker construction method is being used to help improve the bunkering at Southerndown Golf Club near Bridgend, UK.

With the introduction of a series of synthetic surfaces, EcoBunker is helping improve the quality and sustainability of the course’s bunkers, with 50 bunkers already upgraded. The project is on course to be completed to the course’s full complement of 84 bunkers by the winter of 2016.

The club was previously spending in the region of £20,000 a year to maintain the bunkers, which were vulnerable to wind erosion and animal damage.

However Southerndown’s course manager Andrew Mannion said that the club could save as much as £400,000 over the next 20 years thanks to the reduced cost of maintenance.

“We were quite simply spending too much money each year,” Mannion said. “This should be dramatically reduced with the introduction of Ecobunker synthetic surfaces.”

“We’ve had really positive feedback from both members and guests – most of them don’t even realise that the bunkers are synthetic,” said Alan Davies, club captain at Southerndown Golf Club. “They get on with their game and really enjoy it. I’ve been a member for 29 years and the bunkers have always been an issue. But of late with the synthetic base in them, they’re absolutely superb once again, and it’s all to the advantage of the golfers that come to play at Southerndown.”

The club hosted three important tournaments in 2014, and received positive feedback from players about both the bunkering and the course in general.

“A lot of players didn’t pick up on the fact we had synthetic surfaces, and the ones that did thought it was extremely good,” said John Peters, director of golf at Southerndown Golf Club. “It’s very strong of the club to be thinking this way and thinking about new ideas to try and improve the look of a golf course and improve the maintenance of the golf course. Southerndown are at the forefront of that, and we’re very happy with what’s been done so far.”

Richard Allen is the director of EcoBunker, and the first phase of the work at Southerndown was completed by his former company – Envirosports. Since then, Southerndown has commissioned his new company, EcoBunker, to work towards a completion in 2016.

EcoBunker is attracting interest from around the world, and has been involved at projects at parkland, heathland and downland courses.

“In response to this demand, I’ve developed a range of design styles that can be applied to any golf course,” Allen said. “At EcoBunker, our engineers continue to deliver new ideas for bunker construction, including liners and drainage. EcoBunker is a civil engineering solution to a golfing problem.”

The Duncan Putter tournament – the first world-ranking amateur tournament to take place this season in the UK – is being played at Southerndown GC on 11-12 April. EcoBunker is co-sponsoring the event.

A video of EcoBunker’s work at Southerndown can be found below: