The Machrie Golf Links on the Isle of Islay, Scotland, is nearing completion of revetted bunker work.
There are now almost 50 bunkers on the course, which reopened in 2018 following a redesign by golf course architect and former European Tour player David J Russell.
“Course manager Dean Muir said: “When DJ started the redesign project, the original intention was to have none. Had they been natural, we could never have managed to maintain those bunkers, because of the flymowing and strimming, and we would have had trouble building them too. Because of our island location it is difficult and expensive to get revetting turf, and our small turf nursery could never provide enough. It is the use of EcoBunker that has made these bunkers possible.”
Muir saw the EcoBunker method in use on a project in his hometown of Dunbar and realised that it could be a help at The Machrie. “After I saw photographs of the EcoBunkers built with double stacks of astroturf at the new Dumbarnie Links course in Fife, I realised they were just right for us,” he said. “The bunker faces were hydroseeded with fescue: once this started to grow, it made the bunkers look even better. So, we rubbed fescue seed into the faces – you don’t want a lot, but a little bit of growth makes the bunkers look much more natural. Some of our EcoBunkers are nearly three years old, and a bit of age helps the naturalisation process too. The local golfers know they are EcoBunkers, but the majority of our play is visitors, and I don’t think they have any idea that the bunker faces are synthetic.”
The Machrie’s staff have been building the bunkers, following some training from the EcoBunker team. “We have built 22 EcoBunkers since October and have just ten to go. We hope the project will be completed by Christmas,” said Muir.