Academy Course’s Capillary Bunkers

Sand traps at the Academy Course at Aprodite Hills have been lined using the Capillary Bunkers system.

Paphos, Cyprus: A new six-hole, par-three Academy Course at Aphrodite Hills is serving as a test site for a proposed bunker renovation on the resort’s main course.

Aphrodite Hills was designed by American architect Cabell Robinson and opened in 2002. Robinson returned to Cyprus to design the new Academy Course, which sits on a site previously occupied by an under-used earlier short course.

“We have reduced the area in half – the new course is just under 1.5 hectares (3.7 acres) and freed up the rest of the ground for more real estate,” said Course Superintendent David Blair.

“The new course has been built to PGA National academy specifications: the holes range in length from 60-100 metres,” added Blair.

The new course has 12 bunkers, which cover about 400 square metres in total, and which have been lined using the Capillary Bunkers system, including the Capillary Wash Box, which will enable Blair’s team to keep the sand’s colour through pressure washing.

Blair said: “Depaco Golf Construction, the contractor that built the course, did all the preparatory work on the bunkers, but the Capillary Bunkers liner itself was installed by our golf maintenance team.

“CapillaryFlow’s Kneale Diamond came over for a few days to direct operations and to check that the concrete mix was correct. It was a very simple process.”

The work on the new bunkers was done in April, at the tail end of the wet season in Cyprus, but Blair says they’ve already been tested. “A week after we installed the liner, we had a significant rain, and not a grain of sand moved in the bunkers,” he said.

Although this is a small project, it will serve as a test bed for one that could be a lot bigger. When Aphrodite was built, the bunkers were lined with a geo-textile, but it is no longer functioning as designed.

Blair said: “On the main course we have around 14,000 square metres of bunkers, and they are deep and steep-faced. There is no liner in them now – the old fabric was ripped and useless – and they didn’t present too well.

“We could not keep the colour of the sand, because the fines in the clay contaminate it. Sometimes if we spray a wetting agent and turn on the irrigation to water it in, we get puddling in the greenside bunkers – on the Academy Course there’s not a drop of water to be seen.

“On the 11th hole, we have three bunkers that flood quite badly. We have put Capillary Bunkers into one of them, so we will get a really good comparison this winter.”

Aphrodite Hills earned certification for its environmental work from the Golf Environment Organisation three years ago, and has just been re-certified. “When we installed the Capillary Bunkers on the Academy Course, we assessed the sustainability issues very closely – and we have used warm season grasses across its entirety,” said Blair.

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

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