Wisley proceeds with Church project


Sean Dudley

After the successful renovation of the Garden nine, which opened last year, and which GCA covered (see article), the 27-hole Wisley golf club in Surrey, England, has decided to go ahead with a similar project on its Church nine.

The renovation will, as with the Garden project, be directed by the course’s original firm of architects, Robert Trent Jones II, and will feature the installation of the Sportcrete bunker lining technology. Swedish firm Sternberg Golf Services has been hired to carry out the project.

The renovation will include a full technical upgrade, reshaping of all features, and extensive drainage and hazard additions. As on the Garden nine, the surfaces are expected to be converted to a traditional mix of fescue and browntop bent grasses, with the aim of requiring less irrigation and enabling fairways and greens to play firmer and faster.

The decision to use Sportcrete came after an inspection of the Garden nine’s bunkes. RTJ II president Bruce Charlton said: “I was stunned with the ability of the Sportcrete system to provide extremely rapid drainage of the bunkers during and after a prolonged rain event that placed more than two inches of rain throughout the morning tour of the course, especially since it had rained heavily the night before. The bunkers had not experienced any washouts and had no standing water. During this post-design inspection visit, it was agreed to create more visible sand sight lines from the tee shot on a number of bunkers by raising the sand/grass lines. With the Sportcrete lining system, this is a very simple and quick process. It is the only lining system, to my knowledge, that can be accomplished with such little disruption. This efficiency in making revisions to bunkers was paramount in my design decision-making process as we made refinements to the bunkers.”