Jonathan Gaunt has overseen completion of the first phase of a multi-year renovation at Cavendish Golf Club in Buxton, England.
Work began in May 2020, with Gaunt aiming to design bunkers – some new and some redesigned – in a style close to what Alister MacKenzie originally laid out.
“The styling will be focused upon visibility from tee to fairway, and from fairway approach to green,” said Gaunt. “MacKenzie wanted his hazards to be visible to the golfer.”
Bunkers feature the EcoSward liner from EcoBunker, which Gaunt also used for his renovation at Caddington GC in 2018.
“We gave the choice of bunker liner a lot of thought,” said Gaunt. “We considered a rubber crumb product, but eventually discarded it, as we thought it was not appropriate for the landscape, and it is very expensive. I used another product at Whittington Heath in Lichfield, and it worked very well there, but it needs heavy machinery to manoeuvre it into place, and Cavendish isn’t a site that such machines can really access.”
A woodland management plan has also been implemented, where lower quality species like sycamores have been removed to highlight the site’s oaks, beech and specimen pines. Gaunt says that clearing on the left side of the eleventh hole has enabled the fairway to be moved right to the edge of a ravine.
“The tenth and eleventh are considered to be MacKenzie’s highlight holes,” said Gaunt. “The tenth hole is now much improved visually, and the view has been opened up to give a glimpse of the green from the tee, but more importantly, the steep escarpment flanking the left edge of the fairway leads the eye and focuses the mind.”
The renovation will continue until the club’s centenary in 2025 and will include reinstating contours and shapes on greens, bringing back lost pin positions, and thinning out woodlands to reinstate forgotten vistas across the course.