Astro-faced bunker build

At the beginning of April, the Eden greenkeeping team started work on a sustainable and environmentally friendly bunker build on the 1st hole of the 9 hole Balgove Course.

Rather than re-build the existing bunker with rows of sodded turf which is the normal practice across the Links courses, the team used recycled AstroTurf. We obtained this free of charge from contractors when they were renewing some of the sports facilities at St Andrews University. This was a much better alternative than it being sent off to landfill.

This method has previously been successfully implemented on several bunkers at the Golf Academy’s short-game practice area so it was decided that we’d use the same approach on the Balgove Course.

Firstly, the team stripped the existing, worn and decaying sod faced bunker wall before deciding on a shape for the bunker re-build. We then started to build the bunker face in the usual manner with the only difference being rows of AstroTurf were used in place of sodded turf.

astro bunker 2

The material is slightly more rigid to work with and we had to lay many more rows than if we had been using turf sods. In the long term, however, we expect that such a bunker build will last considerably longer and not be so prone to damage, decay and pest threats. It will also help reduce bunker maintenance costs. This means it’s a much more sustainable method than using traditional sod where we would normally remove two inches of soil with every turf.

Bunker 3

We hope to have new bunker sand added very soon so it will be back in play in the coming weeks.

While the build was a different experience for us greenkeepers, unfortunately it will be no easier for you golfers to escape from!

Words by Frank Aherne, Greenkeeper – Eden, Strathtyrum & Balgove Courses

Building a bunker using this method requires a license which can only be obtained from either Durabunker Ltd or Ecobunker Ltd. For more information, follow the links to their websites.

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