‘Bunkers were taking six people four days to repair after every storm,’ says director of golf
HOT SPRINGS VILLAGE, Arkansas – The eight-course Hot Springs Village complex in Arkansas has completed the installation of the CapillaryFlow bunker liner system on its Granada course. The complex plans to install the system across all its courses in forthcoming years.
“Granada is our newest and most premium course,” says director of golf Tom Heffer. “It was built in 2004 by architect Tom Clark.”
“When the course was constructed, the bunkers were lined, but over time, that liner failed, and the state of the bunkers got very bad,” he continues. “Arkansas is all rock, and that rock had got into the bunkers and contaminated both the sand and the drainage. We were wasting so much money putting them back together after rain.
“Labor costs were skyrocketing – it was taking six people three or four days to repair the bunkers every time we had a storm. And it wasn’t just a case of pushing sand back up the faces – they didn’t drain, so we had to pump them out. We get our rain mostly in winter and spring: we often get thunderstorms in the afternoon. And when it rains here it pours: this year has been particularly wet, and we passed our average yearly rainfall in June.”
By 2018, the bunkers had got really deteriorated, and it was obvious something had to be done.
“We did a bunch of research on different liners, and concluded that Capilary was the best,” Heffer said. “I particuarly like the fact that it is thicker than competing products, which makes it stronger, and should help to keep the rocks out of the bunkers.”
Hot Springs Village has a large crew, and thus was able to handle the installation project in house.
“We started on Dec. 1 last year, and took six months to finish, with, at times, up to 18 people working on the job,” Heffer remembers. “Our bunkers are steep faced, and some are quite large, with lots of little fingers.”
In total, the course has more than 100,000 square feet of sand area. Heffer says that the early signs are very positive.
“As I mentioned, this year has been very wet, and even after the heaviest rains, the bunkers that were finished were completely dry and did not wash out,” he says. “The sand stays put instead of being washed down all the time.”
Hot Springs Village is working on plans to roll CapillaryFlow out across the rest of the complex. “We are working on the plan to do the other courses,” says Heffer. “It’s all about budgets, but that is our overall plan.”