Bunker lining manufacturer Sportcrete says its new system – which also helps to prevent sand erosion – is seeing a big rise in uptake, after proving its worth at early adopting clubs.
The Sportcrete system involves spraying an environmentally friendly material on to 50mm of specified stone throughout the bunker, 'glueing' an engineered porous base into place and effectively turning the entire bunker into a drain. A hydraulic draw effect is created as rainfall percolates through the sand, minimising erosion, even on steep bunker faces.
This is being used to great effect at golf courses in the UK and beyond. St Mellion in Cornwall, which will host the English Open in 2009 on its Nicklaus course, recently completed an upgrade in which Sportcrete played a crucial role. The club was keen to increase the severity of bunkering across the course, and wanted sand-flashed faces to improve visibility. The new system has allowed it to achieve this effect while overcoming potential drainage and erosion issues.
Greenkeeper Mike Bush said: "This product has been essential for us to achieve the design goals we wanted from the refurbishment of the Nicklaus course, has been easy to install and, most importantly, is delivering impressive results." Having been used on other sports surfaces for many years, the Sportcrete system is particularly appropriate for golf due to its ability to be applied on sloped surfaces. Sportcrete MD Ian Tittershill said: "Just two years ago, we barely did any work in the golf market, but now it represents almost 75 per cent of our business." The company is continuing to ramp up its golf operations, working to build a distribution network throughout the world.
Martin Sternberg, whose Swedish-based firm Sternberg Golf Services is a certified Sportcrete installation specialist, said: "Very occasionally, a technology comes along that simply solves a problem. Sportcrete is that solution for drainage and sand erosion in golf bunkers."
This article first appeared in issue 15 of Golf Course Architecture, published in January 2009.