Reaping Dividends of Capillary Liners

Washbox model from Dubsdread with unwashed sand on left and washed on right.

Orlando, Florida, United States: Opened in 1924, Dubsdread is the oldest public course in Central Florida. Formerly the site of the Orlando Golf Open, it played host to great names such as Ben Hogan and Sam Snead.

The course was rebuilt by architect Mike Dasher in 2007-08, and its bunkers were reconstructed at the same time, with new sub-surface drainage lines, but no liners.

Superintendent Alan Lichter says it became clear to him fairly quickly that those bunkers would not stand up to the amount of play the busy course receives, especially in Florida summers, where significant rains are an every day occurrence.

Lichter said: “The bunkers just kept washing out all the time. So we started talking about bunker liners in about 2012, and did a demonstration project on our chipping green bunker using a liner from a company that later went bust. So we started looking at the alternatives, and that’s when I came across Capillary.”

Installing liners across the golf course was a significant investment for a municipal course, so Lichter began tracking the amount of time it took to fix the bunkers after rain events.

He said: “It wasn’t pretty, and that convinced the powers that be at the city that it was a good investment. The payback to the city was obvious, and the improvements in playability that would follow were also a big issue.

“We started the project in 2017, working with Benson Construction, a Georgia-based contractor. It took three months to install the liner in all the bunkers.”

Six years on from the installation and Lichter is still extremely happy with the performance of his bunkers. “I love them,” he said. “They are still draining as they were the first day. We had seven-tenths of an inch of rain the other night … and there was no water in the bunkers.”

Given the extremes of the Florida climate, Lichter’s bunkers have had to face up to some pretty severe weather – and he says they have come through with colours still flying.

Even after Hurricane Ian dumped 11 inches of rain on Dubsdread last year, the Capillary Bunkers still performed.

He said: “It took one person – me! – about 12 hours to fix the bunkers after Ian. Before we installed the Capillary liner, it would have needed three guys working solidly for a week.”

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

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