Bunkers Transforming Operations at Gold Coast Club

Queensland, Australia: New bunkers built using technology from Capillary Bunkers and EcoBunker are changing the way that Burleigh Golf Club does business.

On Australia’s Gold Coast, the club has had a difficult time of it in the recent past “When I arrived here in 2014, the club was heavily in debt, as a result of building a clubhouse in 2007, right at the start of the global financial crisis,” said General Manager Ian Cottle.

He added: “After several years work we secured a land lease deal with retirement village developer RetireAustralia. The lease income sorted out our immediate financial difficulties, but the result of a decade of debt was that course expenditure had been kept very low during that time, and it desperately needed investment.

“The condition of our bunkers was a major issue. So in 2020 we appointed Graham Marsh to work with us to develop an 18-hole bunker plan, and we did a test bunker on the 12th hole. We didn’t rush into anything. We played the bunker for a while to establish that it worked well before addressing other bunkers on the course.”

At architect Marsh’s recommendation, Burleigh opted to go for a fully sealed bunker, with the EcoBunker synthetic edge technology and Capillary Bunkers liner.

Cottle said: “Graham’s 18-hole bunker plan is a wonderful reference point. After the 12th, we did the 18th green surround, then the fourth, then the first. We’re still learning about this technology and ensuring the bunker presentation achieved is what we want.

“However, the playability and drainage performance are excellent. We put a firehose on one of the bunkers to show that there was no ponding – and prove that Capillary Bunkers lives up to its reputation of being the best draining bunker liner on the market.”

Local contractor Mark Lawson of ProLinks is handling construction, while both products have been supplied by EcoBunker and Capillary Bunkers dealer Centaur Asia Pacific.

EcoBunker and Centaur Asia Pacific are both Full Business Members of the Asian Golf Industry Federation, while Capillary Bunkers is an Associate Business Member.

Cottle said: “We recently finished the bunker at the first green, and it is a great improvement. When playing the hole, the greenside bunker could not be seen until you got to the green. Members knew it was there, but if you were a guest you would never know it was there until you were 10 feet from the green. The Capillary Bunkers liner allows us to flash the sand higher up the face and now you can see it from a long way away.”

The new bunkers have been well received by Burleigh’s membership.

Cottle said: “One of the biggest issues for golf clubs in Australia is retaining qualified greens staff. Consequently, being able to save a lot of time on repairing the bunkers after rain is a huge benefit. 

“When the club was struggling financially, we maintained the bunkers once a week and had exasperated members. Now we can afford more frequent maintenance and the Capillary lined bunkers require less maintenance work.”

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