Tackling Bunker Sand Contamination

The Breakers Palm Beach.

Wellington, Florida, United States: Good quality bunker sand is expensive, and prices are on the rise. When sand gets contaminated from materials such as grass clippings, algae, clay and silt run-offs entering the bunker, its performance degrades and it becomes less visually appealing.

Maintaining consistent playability characteristics gets harder and more labour intensive. Contamination is the superintendent’s enemy when it comes to bunkers.

The Capillary Wash Box, part of the bunker solution supplied by CapillaryFlow, can help. Since contaminants float in water, whereas sand does not, the Wash Box separates and drains unwanted elements, allowing clients the ability to pressure wash the sand, leaving it in pristine condition. This simple product costs less than US$100.

At The Breakers Palm Beach, a luxury oceanfront resort in Palm Beach, Florida, the Director of Golf and Grounds, Mark Reid, is using Capillary Bunkers technology and the Wash Box to preserve his sand.

Reid said: “We use Capillary Bunkers technology to ensure top-quality performance at both our Ocean Course and The Breakers Rees Jones Course.

“Previously, when experiencing rain in South Florida, we would have to decontaminate the bunkers every time we had a washout, and once the sand starts to move, the sod would not be far behind. It took more than 200-man hours to put the bunkers back together.

“Upon researching and conducting a trial in 2017, prior to the last Ocean Course renovation, we experienced very little washout after storms once the technology was implemented. I knew then that Capillary Bunkers was the best product on the market to meet our needs.”

Golf architect Rees Jones remodelled the Ocean Course in 2018 (located at the main hotel). He then returned in 2022 to reconstruct his namesake course, which is set within a private residential community at Breakers West Country Club (located 10 miles from the resort).

This project included a full re-grassing, new irrigation system, enhancements to most holes to allow for expanded shot options, and the rebuild of all 156,000 square feet of bunkers.

In addition to installing new Capillary Bunkers technology, Reid also incorporated the revolutionary Capillary Wash Box. He said: “I am a big fan of the Wash Box. To have the ability to remove fines and algae, and bring sand back to its original pure-white state is amazing. I’m never worried about bunker consistency now.”

CapillaryFlow is an Associate Business Member of the Asian Golf Industry Federation.

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