Saturday, February 2, 2013

Greenside Bunker Improvements

Bunkers..... What is there good to say about them!  Over the years, the game of golf has seen a major increase in TV coverage of major golf tournaments and championships, as well as, increased maintenance demands by the PGA and USGA in regards to bunkers and their play-ability. With these changes and the general public's (or as I like to call "JOE GOLFER") increased exposure to championship golf and conditioning, golfers are beginning to expect these same conditions on a daily basis at their respective golf club's. What the general public fails to understand, is that the conditions that they see on TV take many months to achieve and are usually unrealistic on a daily basis. However, golf course superintendents all over the world face this challenge everyday and do a tremendous job of attempting to meet these demands to the best of their abilities and resources.

Bunkers, like many other aspects of a golf course, require frequent maintenance. However, like all things, bunkers have a lifespan. Most bunkers, based off the amount of play they receive and the amount of maintenance that is performed in keeping them in an acceptable and playable condition, will have a lifespan of 5 to 7 years. When the aesthetics and play-ability begin to deteriorate, it may be time for a club to renovate the bunkers. 

In regards to bunker renovations, there are different methods and degrees to which bunkers can be renovated. In our situation, we wanted to do a major renovation of our bunkers. However, there were a couple of major deciding factors that led us to the type of renovation that we will be performing:
     1.) A major bunker renovation would be VERY expensive ($400,000 to $500,000) 
     2.) We will be hosting the 2013 NCAA Women's Golf Regional Championship in May and the 
           2013 US Women's Amateur Public Links Championship in June. 

In order for us to do a major bunker renovation  we would have to come up with a pretty sizable amount of money to fund such a project, AND, hope that we could start, complete and grow-in after construction before these championships! This was obviously not the "best-case" scenario to try and do such a major project. So, we came to a couple of conclusions. One being, that our greenside bunkers got a greater amount of play than the fairway bunkers. The second conclusion was that the greenside bunkers were in more need of major attention than the fairway bunkers. 
The scope of work of this project would be as follows:
     1.) Completely remove the older sand.
     2.) Make repairs to the underlying fabric liner.
     3.) Replace with fresh, new sand to the appropriate depth

Once this phase of the project is complete, we will then focus our attention and efforts on the fairway bunkers and Add/Remove sand to make certain they are at the appropriate depths as well. This project can be done in far less time and for a much lesser cost than a major bunker renovation. All though this is not the long term solution, this will allow us adequate time to raise necessary funds, put together designs and specifications and plan accordingly to allow the appropriate amount of time to conduct such a major renovation.

We appreciate the patience, understanding and continued support of the patrons and members of the Jimmie Austin Golf Club during this project. We hope to get this project completed with as little of disturbance to regular play as possible.

As always any questions, comments or feedback is always appreciated.

We'll see you out there!