Large bunkers means washouts have caused difficulties at Santa Maria
PANAMA CITY, Panama– The Jack Nicklaus-designed, Santa Maria Golf Club is a private club in Panama City that opened in 2012. Managed by Troon Privé, Santa Maria also includes a five-star Luxury Collection by Marriott hotel.
Panama is a tropical climate, and this caused challenges for the club’s maintenance crew, especially given the large area of bunkers on the course, which total 150,000 square feet of sand.
“Panama City receives a great amount of rainfall, particularly between the months of May and December, leading to sand washouts in the bunkers,” says general manager José Ignacio Olea. “Since the opening of the golf course, the frequent washouts have led to maintenance difficulties. Therefore, we needed to take action and not only improve the bunkers but change the style of bunkers and simplifying their maintenance, guaranteeing an overall improvement on the conditions and enhancing the playability.”
Santa Maria’s management resolved to install a new liner to the bunkers.
“We teamed up with Troon Golf, Nicklaus Design and Capillary Concrete to discuss the options available, including the concept, the scope, the construction methods, technical assessment,” says Olea. “Capillary Bunkers was suggested and supported by Troon Golf, which has been involved in a number of bunker renovation projects, so its experience, coupled with the vision and expertise of the golf course designer, Troy Vincent, paved the path to the selection of the Capillary Bunkers.
“On its side, Capillary Bunkers has always been very accommodating and approachable when discussing the options, visiting the project and validating the quality of the product that was provided locally.”
Mexican contractor Roca Golf handled the installation.
“After seeing the first few holes finished, the result is impressive, and we are extremely confident with Roca Golf and their ability to translate the vision of the architect into the final product,” says Olea. “We believe that Santa María is the best golf club in Panama, and we try to stay ahead and provide the best golfing experience to our members and their guests throughout the year.
“We trust our partners and their expertise, and we are confident on the fact that our neighbor courses will be watching us, and it is just a matter of time that they embark themselves into the same solution. Our members are extremely pleased with the new look. We have had some rains and the bunkers have taken it very well, considering that the sand is not fully compacted yet.”