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Bunker Renovations

We are replacing every bunker on the course, follow us on Facebook to stay up to date!
After 25 years of water in the bunkers and poor playability, Forest Greens Golf Club is undergoing a complete bunker renovation. During the project, all bunkers on the golf course will be renovated in some fashion. Of the 49 existing bunkers, 5 will be removed completely and the size of 3 will be reduced by 40%. The method chosen for the renovation is the “Better Billy Bunker”. The contractor performing the work is McDonald & Sons Golf Course Builders, with Joel Weiman as the Senior Designer and Robert Shriver as the Project Manager. The final completion date of the project is anticipated in 6 to 8 weeks.

The main purpose of the Better Billy Method is to minimize sand erosion and sand contamination from native soils during heavy rainstorms. The primary features of this bunker construction are a two-inch gravel layer applied over the bunker floor and herringbone tile system capped with a sprayed manufactured binder. The gravel serves as a conduit for water to transfer down the bunker floor slopes into the tile pipe system, thus greatly reducing or eliminating sand movement. The binder secures the gravel blanket and prevents native soils underneath from contaminating the preferred bunker sand that was installed. The steps involved with the Better Billy Bunker are as follows: remove old sand and replace drainage lines, install a 2” layer of #8 punch gravel, ST410 polymer is sprayed and allowed to dry for 24 hours resulting in a sturdy pliable layer of glued gravel, quality control of the polymer, new tested and approved bunker sand installed, and plate tamped to compact to a four-inch depth.

Selecting the proper sand is one of the most critical components of a good bunker. The makeup of the sand strongly impacts maintenance and playing quality. Some of the factors we used in our sand selection were particle size, particle shape, crusting potential, angle of repose, infiltration rate, water holding potential, penetrometer value, chemical reaction, and color. One of the biggest considerations when selecting sand for the Better Billy Bunkers is a test to ensure that the sand is compatible with the selected gravel to create a “bridging” effect and keep the sand up on the slopes. After a great deal of research and testing, we selected the Golf Agronomics G-Angle Bunker Sand out of Marston, NC. It is a manufactured sand as opposed to a rounded, dredged sand so the particles are more angular. The particle size indicates that it is a clean sand with most particles in the coarse to medium size fraction. This ensures that any sand splashed on the greens has a minimal risk of layering. The particle shape is mostly sub-angular in the very coarse and coarse sand fractions, sub-rounded in the medium and fine sand fractions, and a medium sphericity in particle shape which means it will hold on the bunker slopes. With a penetrometer reading of 2.7 kg/cm, this sand has a very low tendency to produce fried egg lies or golf balls to bury. The sand exhibited no crusting after wetting or drying which suggests that it may require only minimal raking after a rainfall or irrigation event. With an infiltration rate of 67.1 inches/hour, water will roll right through the sand and should exhibit good internal drainage. The sand is a silica sand and not calcareous with a pH of 6.9. The dry sand has a 10YR 8/1 white on the Munsell Color Chart which means it has a very white appearance.