Trinity Forest addresses drainage issues with new bunker lining

  • Trinity Forest

    Trinity Forest has addressed some issues it was facing with bunker drainage

  • Trinity Forest

    Lining from Capillary Concrete means the bunkers can drain without penetrating the landfill cap beneath

  • Trinity Forest

    Thirty of the course’s 80 bunkers now have Capillary Concrete installed

  • Trinity Forest

    The firm showed the club’s team how to install and manage the liner, so they can do it on their own timescale

Richard Humphreys
By Richard Humphreys

Trinity Forest Golf Club in Dallas, Texas, has addressed landfill-related drainage issues with the help of bunker lining firm Capillary Concrete.

The course, a Coore & Crenshaw design that opened in 2016 and the venue for the PGA Tour’s AT&T Byron Nelson event in 2018, was built on a former dumping ground, which had been capped in the process of environmental remediation. This cap has presented some drainage difficulties for the club.

Kasey Kauff, director of grounds at Trinity Forest, said: “The landfill is capped with clay, which was designed not to allow water to penetrate, and which we are not allowed to cut into at all. That's why the course has no trees – the roots would penetrate the cap – or water features. The whole golf course was built with fill placed on top of the cap.

“The bunker bases are at grade level, and below them is the cap. This became a major problem for us: the impermeable clay cap stopped the bunkers from draining, and after any significant rains, we had waterlogged bunkers. But we couldn't drain them in the normal way, because we are not allowed to go into the cap.”

Following a visit by Ted Fist of Capillary Concrete, Kauff realised the bunker lining technology could solve the club’s drainage issues.

“Although we cannot put traditional drains under the bunkers, we are able to put flat tile on the base of the bunkers – in other words, right on top of the cap – and then lay Capillary Concrete on top of that. We can't lower the bunker floor, so that does mean players are standing fractionally higher in the bunker than before, but that doesn't really make any difference,” said Kauff.

The Capillary Concrete team, and Mark Creighton of distributor Ewing Irrigation, showed Trinity Forest staff how to install and manage the Capillary Concrete product. “The ability to do it ourselves was what made Capillary Concrete especially attractive to me,” said Kauff. “It meant I could do it when I wanted, not on someone else’s schedule. If it rains, and we can’t install, that doesn’t matter, we do something else that day. If we had a contractor, we’d be paying for downtime.”

Of the course’s 80 bunkers, 30 now have Capillary Concrete installed. “We had an inch and a half of rain very recently,” said Kauff. “One of the bunkers we did last year has a severely steep face, but there was no washout at all.”

The changes are barely perceptible to golfers. Coore & Crenshaw’s bunker building specialist Jeff Bradley recently visited Trinity Forest and played golf with Kauff. “He didn’t say a thing!” said Kauff.