Arizona course renovates and installs Capillary Bunkers product to keep definition and prevent contamination.

SEDONA, Arizona – The Tom Weiskopf/Phil Smith-designed Seven Canyons course in Arizona is coming toward the end of a significant renovation project, including the installation of the Capillary Bunkers product from CapillaryFlow.

Seven Canyons originally opened in 2003. The course has been through a number of different management companies and was acquired by a new ownership group in 2022. The new owners re-engaged with original architects Weiskopf and Smith to create a masterplan to return the course to its original state.

“This course is something of a throwback,” says Smith. “When we originally designed it, we were on site two or three times a week and did the whole course without plans – just by waving our arms around in the old style! I did draw greens details, because that was where we wanted to defend the course, but that was it.”

“The course is core golf, and we deliberately went for something of an early Twentieth Century feel to the design,” he adds. “The bunkers echo that feel – they are quite deep, with fairly steep faces, and some shadowing. We wanted to show a lot of sand, and in terms of the rebuild, that is where the Capillary Bunkers product is a great help.”

“We started work in late November last year, and it was supposed to be La Niña winter, which means dryer and warmer here,” says general manager Dave Bisbee. “But, in fact, it has been wetter and colder than anyone believed possible, and we even got a little snow in March. The team from Wadsworth Golf that has handled the build has done a great job to keep the project moving forward through some very difficult conditions.”

Weiskopf died last August, but shortly before his death, he visited Seven Canyons to offer his thoughts on the renovation. 

“It was Tom’s last site visit out of his home state of Montana,” says Smith. “It was wonderful to have him here.”

The original design had a total of 66 bunkers. 

“We are taking eleven of them out, because they really only hurt the average golfer. But that still leaves a lot of sand,” says Smith. 

“Obviously, Arizona is a desert, but when we get a summer storm, we might get half a year’s rain in one event, and that puts a lot of pressure on our ground crew,” says Bisbee. “That’s why the Capillary Bunker product is important to us.”

Course superintendent Andy Huber explains further. 

“The native red clay here is so bright that it doesn’t take much contamination to ruin the look of a bunker,” he says. “That was the biggest concern – with the Capillary Bunker product we can completely separate the bunker sand from the clay. It keeps the definition of the bunkers.” 

For the same reason, Huber is also installing the revolutionary Capillary Wash Box, which allows the pressure washing of sand to clean out contaminants.

“We should be finished by Memorial weekend,” says Bisbee. “We have kept the golf course open all through this process. We have fractionally owned real estate here, and we didn’t want the course to be closed to our owners when they came here. So we have worked with Phil, and Wadsworth, to close clusters of holes for renovation at a time, enabling our members to continue playing golf.”

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