Dudsbury Golf Club in Dorset, England, is progressing with a multi-year programme to rebuild all its bunkers following a successful trial of the EcoBunker artificial edging solution.
Designed by Donald Steel, Dudsbury is set in 160 acres of countryside rolling down to the River Stour. The course is part of a hotel and spa complex, which was bought in 2006 by local couple David and Beate Braban. David died in February this year, but Beate continues to run things and has invested heavily in new facilities for the course.
Warren Moss, course manager at Dudsbury, said: “Our bunkers were a maintenance nightmare. My crew consists of four qualified greenkeepers, two-part timers and one apprentice, and every time we had a downpour practically the whole team would have to spend hours and hours pushing sand back up the faces. We saw the EcoBunker product at Royal Winchester and we decided to give it a go.”
“Dudsbury first approached us in 2016,” said Richard Allen, chief executive at EcoBunker. “At the time, the course had bunkers with sand faces and no lips. You could putt out of them, and some members did. They suffered from sand wash down, edge erosion, sand contamination and resultant drainage problems. We proposed reducing the sand gradient and introducing our product as a low edge and protecting the underlying drainage by introducing a bunker liner.”
EcoBunker construction specialist Llewellyn Matthews showed Moss and the Dudsbury team how to construct the EcoBunker advanced edging solution, which binds the artificial turves with engineered backfill to produce greater stability. This is important for shallow-walled, low edge installations, since, as they weigh less, there is less gravity-driven stability. “Llew did two bunkers and we did two more ourselves,” said Moss. “They performed so well we decided to do ten more last winter, we’ll do another ten this winter, and in five years or so we’ll be entirely EcoBunkered. The synthetic edge combined with the artificial turf liner that we have adopted means that our bunkers are totally sealed. They drain now, there’s no wash downs, and we hardly have to do any weeding or strimming around them.”
“When building the initial bunkers, we took a conscious decision not to get too elaborate with the edge shaping,” said Allen. “The course was not designed with that style in mind, and it was important that we didn’t replace one set of maintenance issues – crumbling edge, sand contamination – with another burden of strimming and fly mowing.
“It was important that Warren and his crew could mow around these bunkers using ride-on mowers as far as possible. I’m always happy to get involved in one of these low-edge projects. Our product has become associated with links-style revetted pot bunkers, but we know it works great in a much wider range of circumstances, and it’s very pleasing to get confirmation of that.”