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The finished product looks so much like the real thing that most golfers have probably never noticed

Astroturf Faced Bunkers

In July 2011 we worked with a company called Envirosports Ltd to rebuild the bunker face on one of our practice areas. Rather than the traditional method of using strips of turf for the revetted face, Envirosports had designed and patented a method using recycled Astroturf which had the benefit of lasting up to 20 times longer. This was ideal for the bunker on one of our practice grounds which is heavily used and required to be rebuilt every year.

It was an opportunity to use it as a trial and assess how successful it would be. As well as saving time, more importantly we were able to save on turf and the two inches of soil on each strip of turf required when you rebuild a bunker face.

Envirosports had been brought to our attention at the British Turf Managers Exhibition in January that year. Not long after this we heard that the local University were planning to renew their sports pitches. This was a perfect chance to get the material for free and to do our bit for the environment as the old Astroturf would have ended up going to landfill.

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Work in progress

The company came in and showed us how to prepare the Astroturf and together we built that first bunker. It’s great to report that two years later the face is as good as the day it was built, in fact some small patches of grass growing on the face make it look more authentic. All we will have to do this winter is cut the turf from along the top of the front face and remove all the extra sand which has accumulated through sand splash over the time. We are now in the process of building the other bunkers on our main practice area, as they reach the end of their natural lifespan, using the same method.

Unlike turf faces, we can brush the sand splash off the face on a weekly or daily basis and no erosion is caused to the Astroturf. The face is not damaged by golfers if they strike it on their follow through and because it is pliable, they don’t jar their wrists or damage their clubs.

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Finished article

It has been a fantastic project for us with the savings we’ve made by reducing the maintenance required and how we helped reduce this material going to landfill. The finished product looks so much like the real thing that most golfers have probably never noticed.

The process used is protected by patents that Envirosports hold in the UK, US and Europe. Anyone considering using this method must contact Envirosports.

Words by Gordon Moir, Director of Greenkeeping