The Tampines course at Tanah Merah Country Club in Singapore has reopened following redesign work that was necessitated by the expansion of neighbouring Changi Airport.
Phil Jacobs, previously lead architect for Gary Player Design, oversaw the work, having already helped the club to redesign its Garden course in 2006, and make further changes more recently, also to accommodate the airport expansion. Those changes have meant that the club’s emphasis has shifted to the Tampines for professional tournament golf. Its brief to the architect was to provide an interesting but challenging course for all, but playable for members and low maintenance.
With highway realignment impacting the Tampines course boundaries, Jacobs took the opportunity to implement a significant redesign, focused on the course’s bunkering.
In line with the club’s desire to promote sustainability, Jacobs turned to Durabunker for synthetic bunker edging, helping to reduce maintenance requirements while giving strong visual appeal to the bunkering.
“A clear objective in relation to bunker design at Tanah Merah’s Tampines course was to create a Golden Age feel with high flowing sand lines and classic shaping,” said Jacobs. “I was very conscious of using products that would aid in achieving that goal and I was particularly interested in the idea of building bunkers with far more robust edges than can be achieved through traditional construction methodologies.
“The desired finished look was a shallow edged bunker, with a visible ‘turf’ edge of approximately six inches, visible enough to clearly define the bunker edges but not so much so that the edge would become too much of a feature or capture the attention of the golfer as may be the case with more traditional revetted bunker faces or edges. The basic idea we discussed was that the product would ‘frame’ the simple but classic bunker shaping that we were incorporating into the design.
“The owners in particular wanted a look that was not necessarily that of a revetted edge, as is customary with the product, rather more of a traditional turf edge. Durabunker therefore detailed the construction specification so that the synthetic sod was stacked very close to vertical, ensuring there was minimal ‘stepping’ between layers giving the finished look of a traditional turf bunker edge.”
Rhydian Lewis, founder of Durabunker, said: “Although we have built shallow edges many times, this is the first time a synthetic bunker edge has been built in this way. We are always looking to innovate and adapt the product to suit particular applications, not only in relation to bunker edge design but other aspects of construction both within and outside of the golf industry, and it was exciting to introduce a new variation of the product in terms of finished look, to this project.
“There is something very satisfying and reassuring from a design perspective, to have a product available that not only looks good in the short term but actually ensures that the shapes put in the ground on day one will be the same shapes the golfer sees and experiences on day 10,000. The value of that aspect alone justifies the investment in many ways, the fact that the product results in virtually no maintenance of bunker edges is another huge added benefit.”
TEHC was the lead contractor for the work, and the project took 16 months to complete, with a soft opening taking place at the end of April.