Golf Course Architecture - Issue 62: October 2020

65 “Bunker relocation and elimination has made the course more playable and given us more shot options.” The overall sand area has been reduced by more than 40,000 square feet. The club has been able to take advantage of new liner technology too, installing the Better Billy Bunker system, and a high-quality white sand that gives a more consistent surface. “It’s helped immensely with maintenance,” says Hugh Lynch, the golf course superintendent and project manager for the renovation. “When we’re in a monsoon, we can get one inch of rain three times a week. The bunkers could have been out of play for six or seven days, because it would take 200 to 300 hours of manpower to get them back into play.” Now, the club expects to be able to resume play almost immediately. The renovation also included some removal of trees that were in poor health or added a lot of shade, which has restored width and improved agronomic conditions, plus the introduction of more short grass areas around greens. “Around the greens, before you were either in a bunker or rough grass,” says Muirhead. “Now they have more short game work, which is seen as a new dimension for their low handicap players, while high handicap players are not just hitting out of bunkers all the time.” Some holes saw a more substantial transformation. The short par-four sixth, a dog leg left, had been introduced during a previous renovation in the early 2000s. With tees ranging from 250 to 350 yards, it was reachable for long hitters. But the green and approach were heavily defended. “The size, depth and placement of the bunkers meant that most players would just lay up with a five iron off the tee, taking them all out of play,” says Muirhead. “The rewards were not worth the risk.” The hole has been returned to its original dog leg right configuration, but now offers players multiple tee shot options to consider. Laying up leaves a longer approach from a more difficult angle into the new green, whereas a longer, more accurate tee shot will open up a shorter approach from a better angle. Big hitters also have the option of driving directly at the green. The club is also considering a proposed pond, which would add greater jeopardy for those attempting to drive the green. The new green location leads golfers onto the tees of the club’s original par-three seventh, which is now back in play. It had remained as an alternative hole following the introduction of a new seventh in the previous renovation, which never really captured the imagination of members. At the par-three tenth, a steep green surface from back to front was impacting playability. “The slopes were probably six or seven per cent and speeds were overly quick when prepped for a tournament,” says Muirhead. “It was forcing the club to focus hole locations on the front half of the green, leading to excessive wear. And putts from the back could easily roll off the green.” The green on the par-three tenth hole has been recontoured, providing more pinnable areas. Left, new bunkering on the par-three sixteenth Photos: Scott Dressel-Martin