Posts

EcoBunker’s new business development manager

EcoBunker’s new business development manager: Synthetic bunker edging specialist EcoBunker has made a significant expansion by appointing Hamish Crichton as its new business development manager. Crichton joined EcoBunker at the start of May, from soil surfectant and wetting agent provider Aquatrols.

“I come from a corporate background, but a few years ago I decided I wanted to follow my passion, and work in the golf business,” said Crichton. “Although I don’t have a background in golf, while at Aquatrols I took the Fertiliser Adviser Certification and Training Scheme (FACTS) qualification. It was quite a challenge to go back to school for the first time in years, but it did me a lot of good. I found that I love the science in soil and grass. It’s one of the first jobs where I’ve found myself reading books or watching videos at one in the morning and my wife has nudged me saying ‘Go to sleep’. The thing that astonished me was the number of times I read ‘The answer is not yet known’. It’s almost like a frontier science.”

EcoBunker's new business development manager

EcoBunker’s new business development manager

“I have a lot of sympathy for greenkeepers. On top of dealing with Mother Nature and the curve balls she throws at them, they have members to worry about! For me, I’m keen to expand my knowledge of the whole arena of golf. I got to know about the greenkeeping side of things, but I wanted to expand my knowledge of architecture and construction, and understand the world of the general manager. My previous experience in marketing and business development trained mehow to present a proposition to a general manager or a greens chairman, who are usually from a similar sort of background and that’s going to be a very important part of my role.

“I had a number of different opportunities, but I chose to join EcoBunker because I believe it is a company that has almost limitless potential. When Richard Allen first conceived synthetic revetting, it was to provide a new solution to the erosion of low edge parkland bunkers. He wanted to give golf courses the option of building aesthetically pleasing, more architecturally interesting bunker shapes without the worry of introducing an increased maintenance burden. As it turned out, the product quickly became popular on higher faced links pot bunkers and our challenge now is to change perceptions, demonstrating that the product translates extremely well to all golf course styles. It helps that we now have a wonderful portfolio from the tropics to the tundra, Major venues to municipals, featuring parkland, heathland and desert courses. EcoBunker allows greenkeeping staff to spend less time on their bunkers and get on with maintaining the surfaces that really matter.”

For the latest industry news visit turfmatters.co.uk/news

Get all of the big headlines, pictures, opinions and videos on stories that matter to you.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram for fun, fresh and engaging content.

You can also find us on Facebook for more of your must-see news, features, videos and pictures from Turf Matters.

New Stillwater club to feature revetted EcoBunkers

New Stillwater club to feature revetted EcoBunkers: Set to open in late 2021, the all-new Stillwater community and golf club will be located in Northeast Florida between Jacksonville and St. Augustine. This 18-hole layout will mark the area’s first new golf course since 2004.

Pete Dye protégé Bobby Weed, fresh off his new golf course build for Michael Jordan at The Grove XXIII, has been commissioned to design Stillwater. Set to debut as a semi-private course and hallmark for developer Lennar Corporation’s 550-home active adult community, the par-71 will stretch about 6,800 yards.

New Stillwater club to feature revetted EcoBunkers

New Stillwater club to feature revetted EcoBunkers

Unique to the area, Stillwater will feature revetted pot bunkers, made possible by EcoBunker’s synthetic bunker edging system. Synthetic grass tiles are built on top of each other to create a layered effect. The end product is a fortified bunker that reduces wind-based erosion and yields a beautiful on-course aesthetic. “Don’t expect a golf course from the past,” said architect Weed. “As the area’s first new course in almost two decades, we are providing Lennar with something distinct and different.”

Bunker maintenance is an intense labour commitment for clubs, and importing sand is expensive. By building revetted bunkers, clubs can keep more sand down while still offering strategic playing options. “We were satisfied using EcoBunker during our renovation at Medalist Golf Club in 2015,” Weed added. “We had a nine-inch rainstorm during construction, and they did not fail. Stillwater will also benefit from EcoBunker with noticeably less time and money spent on bunker maintenance.” Stillwater’s soil is relatively sandy, and thus does not require bunkers to be lined. However, there is sufficient drainage under them. The revetted walls sit at angles between 55 and 75 degrees.

“Revetted bunkers are exceptionally rare in warm season grass environments,” said Richard Allen, inventor and CEO of EcoBunker. “The extreme nature of these climates means that bunker faces can easily be destroyed by heavy rain. Our product helps solve that problem.”

Bobby Weed Golf Design is a leader in building environmentally conscious golf courses. Stillwater will be no exception. With EcoBunker’s support, Stillwater will feature just 70 acres of irrigated turf. Weed has also designed a more flexible layout for the course. It features loops of three, six and nine holes returning to the clubhouse, allowing members to play as their time permits.

To date, twelve holes have been shaped at Stillwater. Grassing should be completed by the end of August, and the course is expected to open by Thanksgiving in November. Stillwater marks an important milestone for EcoBunker in the US, as it has recently changed the channel through which it markets its solution in the country. Allen said: “The EcoBunker system made an exciting entry into the USA five years ago with fabulous projects at Medalist, Secession, LedgeRock and several others. After a period of marketing our product in the USA under a different brand name, we have decided to reinstate the EcoBunker brand, remove the middleman and provide our products and services directly, with all the client benefits that come with that. Stillwater will provide another stunning example of the possibilities of the EcoBunker system and we thank Bobby Weed for the opportunity to use this project as a key part of our re-launch.”

For the latest industry news visit turfmatters.co.uk/news

Get all of the big headlines, pictures, opinions and videos on stories that matter to you.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram for fun, fresh and engaging content.

You can also find us on Facebook for more of your must-see news, features, videos and pictures from Turf Matters.

‘Naturalised EcoBunkers’ the solution

‘Naturalised EcoBunkers’ the solution: Rebuilt a few years ago by architect and former European Tour player David J. Russell, the famous Machrie links on the Scottish island of Islay has now almost finished the construction of the bunkers on the new-look course.

And, according to course manager Dean Muir, it is only the use of the EcoBunker synthetic edging system that has made the installation of the bunkers possible.

‘Naturalised EcoBunkers’ the solution

‘Naturalised EcoBunkers’ the solution

“Now, there are almost fifty bunkers on the course,” says Muir. “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, who comes from Dunbar in the east of Scotland, first saw the EcoBunker method in use on a project in his home town, and realised quickly that it could be a help at The Machrie. Some links courses have resisted using EcoBunker, for fear that their bunkers will look artificial, but Muir believes he has found a solution to this issue. “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 says. “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.”

Muir’s team has been constructing the EcoBunkers itself, 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,” he says.

For the latest industry news visit turfmatters.co.uk/news

Get all of the big headlines, pictures, opinions and videos on stories that matter to you.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram for fun, fresh and engaging content.

You can also find us on Facebook for more of your must-see news, features, videos and pictures from Turf Matters.

Hong Kong EcoBunkers Survive Typhoon

Hong Kong EcoBunkers Survive Typhoon: Hong Kong were last weekend hit by Typhoon Mangkhut, which was the most intense storm to hit the territory since records began back in 1946. Winds of up to 250 km/h (155 mph) battered the region, and the associated storm surge saw floodwaters reach their highest levels since 1904, up to 3.38 metres (eleven feet) above normal.

The storm uprooted 1,500 trees and shattered hundreds of windows across Hong Kong. But on two of the territory’s golf courses, the damage was less than might have been expected. During the summer, both the Shek O Country Club and the Clearwater Bay G&CC installed the EcoBunker synthetic edging system in trial bunkers on their courses, and both bunkers survived the storm with no damage to the artificial turf wall, in contrast with the rest of the course, several holes of which were left underwater.

Hong Kong EcoBunkers Survive Typhoon

During summer 2018, the 99 year old Shek O club used a small area of land close to the coast to build a new short game practice area, with three artificial grass greens, each with three tees, creating, in effect, a nine hole par three short course. Late in planning, the club, in conjunction with Hong Kong-based EcoBunker distributor Jeffrey Eshuis of Centaur Asia Pacific, decided to use the EcoBunker system on the practice area. Course manager Ross Grieve was interested in learning about new bunker construction methods that could be used to reduce his maintenance on many of the course’s bunkers, which tend to suffer from regular washouts during the region’s regular heavy rainfall events.

EcoBunker airfreighted three pallets of its product from London to Hong Kong, and chief executive Richard Allen travelled to the territory to train the local teams in the unique EcoBunker construction technique.

Meanwhile, at Clearwater Bay down the coast, EcoBunker construction specialist Llewelyn Matthews built another trial bunker – using a combination of Capillary Concrete liner technology and EcoBunker edging – in August. That too survived Mangkhut intact.
Richard Allen said: “The design is based on an innovative fusion of established engineering techniques, providing confidence in the strength and stability of our product and our construction methodology, but you don’t get any testing grounds more severe than a super-typhoon of this kind. Both clubs have a lot of clearing up to do elsewhere, but their EcoBunkers won’t be adding to the workload.”

Hong Kong EcoBunkers Survive Typhoon

For the latest industry news visit turfmatters.co.uk/news

Get all of the big headlines, pictures, opinions and videos on stories that matter to you.

Follow us on Twitter for fun, fresh and engaging content.

You can also find us on Facebook for more of your must-see news, features, videos and pictures from Turf Matters.

EcoBunker’s North America Arrangements

EcoBunker’s North America Arrangements: EcoBunker, a global market leader in synthetic bunker edge construction, is making a number of changes to its distribution arrangements in North America.

From June 2016 until this month, EcoBunker marketed in the US exclusively via Binghampton, NY-based IVI Golf, the supplier of the well-known Sandtrapper bunker liner, with the product renamed PermaEdge. That exclusive arrangement has now lapsed, with EcoBunker now selling direct into the US and Canadian markets, and, to give full coverage across North American, is appointing new distributor and agents. The first of these is a new agent, George Fry, formerly superintendent of Kiawah Island’s Ocean course, covering Georgia and the Carolinas. Another appointment, to cover Canada, is Jay Morgan, a specialist in erosion control products, based into Ontario.

EcoBunker's North America Arrangements

“Opportunities exist for individuals and organisations to represent EcoBunker across North American, and we will be delighted to hear from interested parties,” said Richard Allen, EcoBunker’s CEO. “We have learned that the size and complexity of the American market needs widespread representation, and so we plan to build a substantial distribution network.”

Allen continued: “We have always maintained a presence of our own in the US – some of our best projects, such as at the Medalist club in Hobe Sound, Florida, and Secession GC, in Beaufort, South Carolina, have been won and delivered that way. But, as our business grows, and our brand becomes known across the world, it is important for us to have better control over our operations in the world’s largest and most dynamic golf market. From now on, we will operate solely under the EcoBunker brand in all geographies.”

Between 150 and 200 courses globally have now installed the EcoBunker solution.

For the latest industry news visit turfmatters.co.uk/news

Get all of the big headlines, pictures, opinions and videos on stories that matter to you.

Follow us on Twitter for fun, fresh and engaging content.

You can also find us on Facebook for more of your must-see news, features, videos and pictures from Turf Matters.