Construction firm MJ Abbott has completed the renovation of 175 bunkers at the 36-hole London Golf Club in England, to repair damage caused by heavy storms.
“On 10 June we received 129 millimetres of rainfall with 90 millimetres in about two hours,” said Lee Sayers, golf courses and estate manager at London Golf Club. “The flooding and cascading water damaged the bunker drainage system with its sheer force.
“Following an assessment of the course in the days that followed, it became obvious we had a major issue. A short-term fix could have been considered – removing the worst of the silt laying on the surface and replenishing sand where necessary – but that would only mask the issue with slow-draining hazards following the next time we had heavy rain.
“It was decided all bunkers needed a full clear out and we needed to re-excavate drainage trenches, install new pipe, assess all outlets, fill trenches with new two-to-six-millimetre gravel and new sand to 100 millimetres deep, then compact.”
The club, which is part of the IMG Prestige network, had to keep both Nicklaus-designed courses – Heritage and International – open during construction due to the busy golf calendar with bookings on both courses. Machinery and equipment had to be switched between courses on a daily basis to avoid pre-booked golf groups.
Work had to be completed before the Staysure PGA Seniors Championship took place on the International course between 1-4 August.
“We were asked to mobilise four construction crews at very short notice to repair and reconstruct 175 bunkers following storm damage,” said Steve Briggs, contracts director at MJ Abbott. “We mobilised on site on 27 June with a programme to finish works four-and-a-half weeks later, on 28 July.
“Logistically it was a major challenge switching between courses without disruption or affecting the client or their customers. The 20 staff who worked on site did a fantastic job. We were asked to meet a very demanding deadline and we met or possibly exceeded our client’s expectations.”
The last bunker was completed three days ahead of schedule on 25 July and all resources then had to be moved from the site before the Staysure tournament.
“Every bunker is now uniform and plays exactly the same, they look great too,” said Sayers. “They will perform as originally designed following wet periods as they will percolate water through very quickly.”
Sayers worked alongside MJ Abbott’s Jim Price and site manager Dean Mulcahy.