The refurbishment of the Torrance course at Fairmont St Andrews, currently in progress under American architect Gary Stephenson, is progressing well, according to Steve Briggs from contractor MJ Abbott.
The work includes the reconstruction and lining of the water storage lakes, which form an integral part of both the Torrance and Devlin course layouts. A new Rain Bird Irrigation system has been introduced to all greens, tees and approaches following the installation of a primary piped drainage system to all fairways and several carry areas.
The project also includes the reconstruction of all 18 tees, the building of two new greens, relocation of burns on three holes and the reconstruction and revetting of 63 bunkers. Extensive earthworks to rough areas have formed mounding and drainage attenuation areas.
Turf has been lifted from the existing greens and re-laid on the two new ones on a premixed rootzone that has been closely blended to match the existing setup.
All eighteen of the Devlin holes are to be kept open during the reconstruction. "Two holes from the original Devlin layout have been swapped to form part of the new Torrance layout," said Briggs. "A composite course has been formed to keep a full 18 holes in play and will be changed again in July using four of the recently reconstructed Torrance holes. This will allow the team to complete the final holes.
"The four brought back into play in July were completed first. Growth was accelerated by the use of WBB Minerals' premixed Turfstart rootzone to the tee surfaces and turf to match the chosen seed mix. The two new greens also received the rootzone prior to the lifting and relaying of the existing turf. We've seen rapid germination in the seeded areas followed by excellent establishment." The work is scheduled for completion very soon and following a grow-in by the greens staff, the new Torrance course is expected to open by next summer.
This article first appeared in issue 14 of Golf Course Architecture, published in October 2008.