In 2018, Bandon Golf Club established a five year Course Development Committee with the aim of improving standards on the course and its facilities. The starting point was a new practice area but the works have since expanded considerably.
The first foray took place last April, when the new chipping area, practice green and two bunkers were designed by golf architect Ken Kearney. Much of this work and the necessary drainage were funded by a €41,000 grant from the 2019 Sports Capital Programme.
“We built a new short game area with a couple of bunkers and provided all of the short game shot options,” says Kearney.
“The original green complex was remodelled but the real interest is at the new area. A number of artificial tee pads also allows for the playing of the area as a competitive small course to designated pins. The facility is now complete and in play. Such areas offer great starter grounds for beginners and fun for all standards of players. While the expert player might spend hours honing their skills, the area offers so much to so many.”
As part of the same process the ground around the 1st green was re-shaped. Four bunkers, deemed to be too close to the green, were replaced with three new ones. These were modern in style and structure and included drainage and Sportsbond bunker lining. Due to the green’s position, benched into a significant grade, drainage had always been a problem. Sand in the bunkers below the green was constantly being washed out. The new drainage and Sportsbond lining has resolved this issue and greatly reduced the levels of maintenance required. The cost of €23,398 was paid from club funding.
Such was its success that the club elected to have Bandon’s entire bunkering upgraded. The first phase started in January, which will result in 12 bunkers closing and two new ones being created to meet the demands of the modern game. Kearney remains at the helm, working with DAR Golf and Eco Bunkers.
“Many of the bunkers will be re-positioned to give a better feel for the hole and will greatly reduce maintenance costs,” the club’s Richard Kingston reports. “The members of Bandon are delighted with the progress to-date and the remodelling will be a massive upgrade for the course.”
“The turfing of the bunker surrounds took place a fortnight ago,” says Kearney. “This phase of work includes nine holes. The plan is to remodel the remaining bunkers starting in October 2020.”
Covid-19 may mean no golfers on the course for the foreseeable future but work at Bandon will continue as soon as things get back to normal. And it will start with the pouring of the Sportsbond mix… which was due to happen a fortnight ago.
The two-phase project is due be completed by year end at a cost of just over €200,000. Fingers crossed Covid-19 hasn’t stalled that ambition.
“Bunkers, if they be good bunkers, and bunkers of
strong character, refuse to be disregarded and insist
on asserting themselves, they do not mind being
avoided but they decline to be ignored”
John Low, Concerning Golf, 1903.
* Band on The Run… the hit 1973 album by Wings.