For a top UK golf course which prides itself on offering a challenging yet enjoyable game, the performance of its bunkers is essential to reputation and ultimately profit. Preventing the issues and high maintenance costs associated with poor bunker drainage led Chart Hills Golf Club to look for an innovative solution with Tarmac’s Topsport.
Situated in the High Weald of Kent, Chart Hills is an award winning golf course designed by six-time major winner turned golf course designer, Sir Nick Faldo. Featured in the Rolex Top 1000 courses in the world, Chart Hills is recognised for offering a diverse game within a stunning location. Built in the traditional US parkland style, the course’s greatest challenge comes from the large number of bunkers which line its fairways and surround its greens, including ‘The Anaconda’ which is the longest in Europe. Bunkers are therefore central to the reputation and popularity of the club.
Ensuring effective and long-lasting bunker drainage is surprisingly still a common problem for golf courses across the UK. With a requirement for an effective lining that could be retrofitted onto the existing green-side bunkers, the Chart Hills team therefore began its search for a fresh solution that would avoid all of these common issues, reduce maintenance, and meet its high performance standards.
During extensive research, the Chart Hills team came across two courses already using the innovative Topsport bunker lining. Following these site investigations, the Chart Hills team decided to apply the unique engineered solution to an initial five bunkers in 2014. A further 11 green-side bunkers, totalling around 900 square metres, were completed in 2015 and following their success, an additional 20 are due to be lined in 2016.
Peter Cullen, Technical Sales Manager, for Tarmac’s Topsport team, commented: “The simple structure of Topsport’s bunker liner is beneficial for a number of reasons. Chiefly, as it avoids the use of chemicals it can be laid in all weather conditions, meaning work can be undertaken during the winter months when courses may be closed or used less frequently, minimising any potential course downtime.
“Plus, having a dedicated Topsport approved installer means an efficient installation. For instance, a delivery of Topsport’s premixed bunker liner arrived at Chart Hills at 8:15 am to work on the ninth hole. Five installers barrowed, laid, and compacted the material for 100 square metres of lining, with the sand being replaced just two hours later. This speed meant that golfers teeing off at 9 am didn’t experience any disruption to their game, with the bunker fully playable by the time they got to the ninth hole.
“Chart Hills has certainly seen an improvement in free drainage. This has simultaneously reduced the levels of repair after very heavy rainfall, with the liner completely preventing washout from the bunkers to date. This ultimately means less replacement sand is needed over the course of the year, further contributing to reduced maintenance costs.”
Neil Lowther, Golf Course Manager at Chart Hills Golf Club added: “We were looking for a bunker liner because we have had a real issue here given the significant number and sheer size of the bunkers at Chart Hills. We looked at several different ones and we were approached by Tarmac and its Topsport Bunker Lining was the one we wanted to go with.
“The improvements we’ve seen have been remarkable. We suffer significant wash through heavy rain here at Chart Hills and we are also situated on heavy clay. However, the new lining has just improved the bunkers no end.
“In terms of maintenance, before the lining we were spending probably sixty per cent of our resources on bunker maintenance. We are a high maintenance course and we’ve got a lot of bunkers, yet this product will go a long way to significantly reducing labour and other resources such as sand replacement.
“The bunkers that we’ve used the Topsport Bunker Lining in have proved to be absolutely remarkable, especially when it comes to holding sand on the high faces. Members’ comments are progressing forward and I think it’s putting us back where we need to be in the market place.”
Shaun Bakker, General Manager Chart Hills Golf Club, concluded: “We have 133 bunkers here at Chart Hills so maintenance and ensuring they’re always fit for play is really important to us. We are in England after all, and if there’s a bit of rainfall around you can quickly find your bunker faces getting washed down.
“As we’ve got a lot of high faces here and it’s important that we keep these bunkers in play for our members and guests, and with the Topsport Bunker Lining and its percolation rates, the water just goes straight through. It’s easy to maintain and really helps us to achieve maximum playability from our bunkers, whatever the weather.”
Download the Chart Hills Golf Club Bunker Lining case study
For more information on Tarmac Building Products’ Topsport bunker lining, please call 0345 600 7704 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.