1st August, 2013
Although bunkers are not usually the most enjoyed part of the golf course by golfers, the new bunker on hole # 3 of the Quail course is one that golfers should take notice of.
This bunker saw a complete renovation in the spring of 2013 due to an unfortunate irrigation break in the fall of 2012 which claimed all of the bunker and parts of the fairway. The renovation involved reshaping of the bunker as well as changes to the mounding of the turf around the bunker.
The restructuring of the bunker and green complex has made for a little less intimidating shot off of the tee, and gives golfers a little extra confidence when trying to “bend” a drive around the dog leg to the green.
The bunker was reduced in size but still remains one of the largest greenside bunkers, and has by far the deepest face of all the bunkers on the entire golf course. It can be an intimidating shot when trying to get out of this bunker and up onto the green, but it is spectacular none the less. Quite often what makes something spectacular also makes it challenging. In the case of this bunker, the challenge is not only for golfers, but also for the maintenance team. The particular maintenance challenge is keeping sand up on the very steep face despite high winds, heavy rain, or just a lot of irrigation water. The usual scenario with a steep bunker face such as this one would be for the maintenance workers to have to do a lot of extra shoveling and moving of sand each morning. If the high winds and heavy rain came during the middle of the day, sand would wash down making the bunker unplayable for a period of time.
Knowing all of the particular challenges of a steep faced bunker prior to the renovation of Quail #3, it was decided to do all that was possible to alleviate this situation. Rather than changing the spectacular face of the bunker, it was decided to try a brand new revolutionary bunker liner product that claims to solve all of the negative issues mentioned above.
The product called “Capillary Concrete” came all the way from Florida, and has been used extensively with great success in golf course bunkers all over the world. The exciting part for the Okanagan Golf Club is that the Quail #3 bunker was the very first in all of Canada to have Capillary Concrete installed in it.
Being the first to try anything can carry with it a strong risk of failure. However, in the case of the Quail #3 bunker, the results are extremely positive! Since the installation back in late April, this bunker has actually been one of the easiest to maintain on the course, and it has not washed out yet. The sand did not even washout when the course saw 15 mm of rain in 10 minutes during a thunderstorm in June. It sounds almost too good to be true, but it has been doing its job perfectly. Believe it or not, there is a lot of science involved, but it may be best to save that discussion for another day. The bottom line is that it has been a huge success so far, and we can only hope it provides us with many more years of a spectacular, low maintenance bunker.
A special thank you to all of the maintenance team for their extra hard work in making the Quail 3# bunker renovation a great success!