Monday, 9 January 2017

The bunker project- Coming up to the finishing line

We have so much going on at the club at the moment from clearing leaves to project work I am finding it hard to keep up the blogs, not a bad thing as its great to see so much work going on. 

In my last bunker project blog 'The Welsh Wizard' we spoke about the works being done by Nathan and Nick to get the bunkers shaped from subsoil to the drainage, to the base and then the bunker blinder liner. 

Now I am going to talk about the next stage of the build. 

The revet turf 

Once the blinder base was added we started the revetted edge to the bunkers. This was built on the shelf created during shaping that is also blinded so we can always find the edge and repair in the future years the to exactly the same place. 

The revetting turf comes in slabs approx 35mm thick. Each slab measures 1.2m by 0.6m. The slabs were cut in half lengthways to produce strips measuring 1.2m by 0.3m. The revet is laid like a wall with no joins in the same place and yes greenside up! 

At this point we had looked at 'how' we were going to do the revetment here at Stoneham. Murray Long suggested we changed from the traditional way of just a plain 3 revetted turf edge and add some movement like our old traditional bunkers we have already. This would give the appearance that some of the Heather the turf once in would be rolling over like the Willie Park bunkers we have already. 
We also knew we would need to add height to certain banks by adding an extra layer to. 



The greenstaff did a great job on the revetment and the back filling behind it.

Top soiling 
Once all the revetted edges were complete we then moved on to the top soiling. These were the stock piles you would have seen next to the bunkers that everybody thought were new huge mounds! 

Nathan (the shaper) then distributed the piles out around the bunker at a depth of 4-6 inches (depending on slope). If the area didn't have enough top soil, then we added a rootzone that we purchased. This was shaped in by Nathan and then healed in and raked again and again (please see picture at top of blog). At this point we said goodbye to Nathan and Nick as they moved on to shape another course. They done a fantastic job for us and I think everyone could see the skill that Nathan has with his digger. 
It was sad seeing them go but we know they will be back before we know it to carry on with this amazing project. 

Once the topsoil was all in place the turfing began. There was a mix of turfs out on the course depending on location.

 A dwarf rye mix was used around the green side bunkers and swails to match the existing turf. This can be cut tight and is hard wearing which is perfect for these areas. 

The fairway bunkers were turfed with pure fescue because they will be mixed with Heather. This can then be left long, giving a whispy natural look. 

You may have noticed that some areas were left bare, once the turfing was completed. These areas were left for the heather turfing. 

The turf was laid in the traditional way with over hand left in the bunkers. These were cut off using a saw (it gives a better finish) and blended in to the revetted turf. 

All the turfing was completed in 5 days. That's over 4000m2 of turf down in an incredibly quick period. 

Drainage outlets 

With the turfing complete, Profusion left us to complete the final stages. 

Next on the list was the drainage outlets. We had on site the trencher I borrowed from Muswell Hill GC, which allowed us to complete the drainage. We used 80mm perforated pipe running to a positive outfall (either a ditch or low area) as close as we could find to the bunker. Some of the runs had to go 200-300m 13th green to 5th ditch for example to get a good drainage run. 

Only two bunkers on the 5th and two bunkers on the 1st and 3rd could be drained to a soak away. 
The ones on the 1st and 3rd are over gravel so they should be perfect. We will monitor the 5th to see if we need to drain from the soak away to a ditch but heights and falls were making this a big project and we had enough fall towards the woods so a soak away option is being trialled here. 

Our other big issue during this stage was irrigation. 
The irrigation system was laid in the ground at different stages and in different places to the plans. This caused us a huge problem. Areas were cat scanned and cables 

Normally the cables are laid at the same time as the pipe work as above. This is done so the pipe work can always be traced for future works. The trouble we have is the mains went in first and then the cable some years later. Meaning we can't find the pipe work!! Even the plans for where they wanted to lay them are not close and the depths of installation are all different making it impossible to miss. 
So obviously we found the pipe work and cable with our trencher! 
This meant 13 repairs to the system, just adding outlets to the bunkers. These all had to be dug out, repaired, and left open until all the repairs were completed before we could test them and back fill them. Huge man hours were used on this along with our irrigation engineer just to get it sorted. 

It just goes to show you, you can never plan for everything and you are always learning. Next year I have now planned time and a budget should this happen again (it will I fear) but this is something we will work on in the future when we have to upgrade the system. 

Okay, that's enough from me. I will blog again about the finishing touches of Heather and Sand. 

See you all soon 


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