Golf Course Management

AUG 2014

Golf Course Management magazine is dedicated to advancing the golf course superintendent profession and helping GCSAA members achieve career success.

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74 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 08.14 that's a great compliment." Easley says that Eagle Golf, which operates more than 30 golf courses, is starting its sixth project with the method. "We've gone away from fabrics to Billy Bunkers," says Doug Miller, CGCS, a 25-year GCSAA member who is senior vice president of golf course management for ClubCorp. ClubCorp operates 105 golf courses from coast to coast and has renovated bunkers with the enhanced drainage method on about 20 18-hole courses since its frst job two and a half years ago. The week after ClubCorp fnished Harte - feld National Country Club outside Philadel- phia, Hurricane Sandy dumped 6½ inches of rain in a two-hour period. "The general manager was so giddy he was sending pictures and reporting, 'No sand movement at all,'" Miller says. "We tried our frst Billy Bunker at Yaupon Golf Club (at The Hills of Lakeway in Austin, Texas), and the frst heavy rain we had was 2 inches. The superintendent sent pictures showing all the sand that moved on the entire course: a 2-inch-square edge of one bunker." "In a nutshell, it makes maintaining bun - kers during rain events a lot easier, period," says 29-year GCSAA member William Shir - ley, CGCS, at Peachtree Golf Club in Atlanta, which redid its 75,000 square feet of bunkers, many with steep faces, in 2011. "It's been great. We love it. It's a simple way of maintain - ing bunkers without having a liner in there. You don't have to worry about snagging fab - ric. You do have to check to make sure of your depth of sand, but you have to do that with any bunker." Historically speaking Billy Bunkers originated in 1981 with Billy Fuller, then-superintendent at Augusta National Golf Club. Every summer after The Masters, Augusta National had traditionally cleaned out all the bunkers because of silt and erosion from winter rains. "I didn't want to do that every year," Fuller says, "and then one day I spotted a Georgia DOT crew putting down a geo-textile fabric liner on a steep slope. The crew told me the liner would hold the slope in place while the grass seed germinated." That's when Fuller's idea germinated. "I contacted the company and ordered a roll," Fuller recalls. "We cleaned out three bunkers that summer and lined them, think - ing it would keep the clay from contaminating the sand. It accomplished that, but sand still washed down the slopes. "I thought, what can I put underneath Bunker washouts frequently prompt renovation. A linerless method eases the pain of maintenance. Photos courtesy of Better Billy Bunkers "In a nutshell, it makes maintaining bunkers during rain events a lot easier, period." — William Shirley, CGCS

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