Golf Course Architecture - Issue 73, July 2023

79 reposition the course as a high-end public golf facility.” Part of Golfplan’s remit was to provide thoughts on the strategic value of bunkers, and the opportunity to add new tees to create a variety of hole lengths and expand tee surfaces. Dale prepared a bunker remodelling masterplan and submitted it to Seowon and LPGA for review. “The existing bunkers had gone beyond their life cycle, the subsurface drainage failures, bunker sand line neglect, and damaged bunker faces from 10 years’ worth of foot traffic had taken a severe toll on their condition,” says Dale. “Most fairway bunkers were located short of landing zones to minimise challenging play. Many were positioned well beyond the longest driver landing zone as directional bunkers and as ornamental features with no strategic value. And greenside bunkers were bookends framing the putting surfaces rather than guarding competitive hole locations.” With Dale’s plan approved in March 2023, construction began in April and was completed in early June. Eighty-six new bunkers provide the Hills with a dramatic transformation in terms of aesthetics and strategy. On the par-five sixth, for example, a new ‘deception’ bunker short of the green delivers both indecision and options. In the process of rebuilding bunkers, Dale was able to reduce the overall square footage of sand by 20 per cent. Six mini-backhoe teams and nearly 100 labourers worked on three holes at a time, all the way to final shaping, which was directed by a Golfplan shaper and the firm’s regional director. “The course immediately has better visuals,” says Dale. “It is more three dimensional, strategic, memorable and fun!” Images: Golfplan Golfplan’s redesign of the closing hole (also pictured left, before the renovation) illustrates both the strategic placement of fairway bunkering and greenside hazards designed to defend specific pin locations