Clearwater Bay Golf Club in Hong Kong is preparing to begin a major bunker renovation in conjunction with Australian architect Harley Kruse, incorporating systems from Capillary Bunkers and EcoBunker.
“It’s like the Pebble Beach of Asia, except that you have the ocean on every hole and a huge marina full of enormous yachts,” said Capillary Bunkers CEO and inventor Martin Sternberg.
Given Clearwater Bay’s oceanside location and the tropical climate, which, in the monsoon season, can see 20 inches of rainfall in a day, creating sand bunkers which are resilient is a top priority. And as befits a club of that status, general manager Peter Downie was keen that the bunkers looked dramatic and attractive too.
Kruse’s project at Killara Golf Club in Sydney provided the solution. At Killara, the architect worked with Capillary Bunkers and EcoBunker to build extremely striking bunkers that echo the sandbelt look created by Alistair MacKenzie and Alex Russell in the 1920s.
“Killara is proving extremely influential,” said Kruse. “Previously, no-one would ever have thought to build bunkers like that on clay soil – they would not have performed adequately. But now, because we have technology such as Capillary Bunkers, we can be more artistic, even when the soils are not ideal, confident that the bunkers will still perform well. And for a club of Clearwater Bay’s status, both parts of that – performance and artistry – are really important.”
“When you see Killara, you can’t help but be impressed,” said Sternberg. “Using our technology and the synthetic edging, Harley has come up with a method of building bunkers that look great and are extremely low maintenance, even though the soils are bad. And when Peter saw those bunkers, he realised they were just right for Clearwater Bay.”
“We’re very closely focused on ensuring good flow of water around the bunkers,” said Kruse. “In this sort of climate, if surface water gets into them, you’re in trouble. We’re also moving some bunkers for strategic reasons, and filling in a few that aren’t needed.”
The project will begin as soon as travel restrictions allow Kruse to visit the site.
This article first appeared in the July 2021 issue of Golf Course Architecture. For a printed subscription or free digital edition, please visit our subscriptions page.