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EcoSward liner at Cavendish

EcoSward liner at Cavendish: Cavendish Golf Club in Buxton, England, has completed the first phase of a multi-year course renovation, including the construction of several new bunkers in an attempt to return the course more closely to Alister MacKenzie’s original design.

And, although the bunkers echo MacKenzie’s work in their positioning, they are built using up to the minute construction techniques – including the EcoSward bunker liner from EcoBunker.

EcoSward liner at Cavendish

EcoSward liner at Cavendish

“We gave the choice of bunker liner a lot of thought,” says architect Jonathan Gaunt, who is supervising the work (and who is also a member of the club). “We considered a rubber crumb product, but eventually discarded it, as we thought it was not appropriate for the landscape, and it is very expensive. I used another product at Whittington Heath in Lichfield, and it worked very well there, but it needs heavy machinery to manoeuvre it into place, and Cavendish isn’t a site that such machines can really access.”

Gaunt knew EcoBunker CEO and inventor Richard Allen well, and had used the company’s EcoSward liner at Caddington Golf Club (in fact, the liner’s debut). EcoSward, which is made from recycled artificial grass, is renowned as perhaps the toughest of all textile-based liner systems. It is completely resistant to burrowing animals – an important consideration in an environment like Cavendish, which is bordered by moorland, and comes in metre wide, 5m long strips, which are stuck together with adhesive to produce a single surface with no joints that sand could penetrate.

The Cavendish work also incorporates selective woodland management, taking out lower quality species such as sycamores thus focusing attention on oaks, beech and specimen pines. Gaunt says that clearing on the left side of the eleventh hole has enabled the fairway to be moved right to the edge of a ravine, with spectacular results.

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Liner upgrade solves problems at CordeValle

Liner upgrade solves problems at CordeValle: Designed by the Robert Trent Jones II firm (and actually the firm’s home course), CordeValle GC in California’s Santa Clara Valley, has some of the largest and most imposing bunkers to be found anywhere in golf.

There may be only 63 bunkers on the golf course, but the total area of sand is a breathtaking 188,000 square feet (17,500 square metres). And, according to superintendent Brett Thornsbury, the playing consistency of the bunkers was becoming his biggest challenge..

Liner upgrade solves problems at CordeValle

Liner upgrade solves problems at CordeValle

“We have large, very elaborate bunkers with steep faces,” he said. “Over the years, as with all aging bunker sand, it had lost its original color, the consistency to move water, and the playability was negatively affected, especially during the dry summer months or excessive rain events. With this project, we wanted to restore the sand to its original color, ensure the health of the drainage system, and most importantly, install a bunker liner that was going to last for many years to come.”

CordeValle’s bunkers were originally lined with a geotextile, but its performance had deteriorated since the course’s opening in 1999. When Thornsbury became superintendent four years ago, he quickly realized the bunkers would need to be addressed in the near future to maintain a high-quality of playability and consistency.

In 2019, led by RTJII president Bruce Charlton, the course’s greens and approaches were renovated and regrassed.. The completion of this project left the bunkers as the next major issue to be improved , and last year, Thornsbury was able to start the work.

“We knew the bunkers needed to be relined, and we wanted a liner that could perform at the highest level, no matter the season. he said. “When we researched the options, it became clear to us that Capillary Concrete had a superior bunker product, and was the one we wanted to use.”

The bunker project began early in October of 2020, and was completed in the middle of March 2021. “We tried to have the lowest possible impact on play, using temporary greens where necessary, and always keeping eighteen holes open,” said Thornsbury. “Fortunately for us, we had a pretty dry winter allowing the project to work mostly uninterrupted. However just a few weeks ago we had our first major rain event of the season, producing six inches of rain in less than three days, which for us in Central California, is welcomed and unusual. Not one speck of sand moved in our newly completed bunkers. The team was relieved to see they didn’t require any repairs after such a heavy rain event and kept the sand shovels in the shop that morning. It’s a testimony to the Capillary Bunkers product.”

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