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Going bunkers: 4 courses with bunker success stories

When Hurricane Harvey dumped more than 52 inches of rain in a matter of days, Todd Stephens superintendent of Tour 18 Golf Course in Humble, Texas, says it was a night and day difference between his his bunkers in a Zline Bunker System trial and the ones without the system. (Photo: Todd Stephens)

When Hurricane Harvey dumped more than 52 inches of rain in a matter of days, Todd Stephens superintendent of Tour 18 Golf Course in Humble, Texas, says it was a night and day difference between his bunkers in a Zline Bunker System trial and the ones without the system. (Photo: Todd Stephens)

 

Bunkers that can stand up to Hurricane Harvey

By Christina Herrick | Golfdom Editor

For Todd Stephens, CGCS, superintendent of Tour 18 Golf Course in Humble, Texas, the choice to use the Zline Bunker System when it was time to renovate his course’s bunkers was an easy one. Tour 18 Golf trialed the Zline system on a few bunkers several years prior.

“The first results we got were promising to where they seemed to go in well and do well as far as the performance,” Stephens says. “It worked great when we got heavy rains, where we had minimum washing (out) and the drainage was good.”

Tour 18 GC, a public daily fee course, underwent a full bunker renovation two years ago. The course used the Zline system because of how well the trial worked and the affordability of the Zline system. Stephens says the seamless bunker edging and liner is also a nice feature, how it ties into drainage collection points. He also likes that the Zline system offers different textures of materials for the different styles of bunkers, whether they are flat or have steeper slopes.

“The material used, they have different sizes so that it’s better as far as the withholding capacity of holding the sand on the slopes and allowing the water to drain easier,” he says. “There were different sizes. Therefore, the value was good because you had an option to install different ones for different purposes.”

Zline bunker system installation at Tour 18 Golf Course in Humble, Texas (Photo: Todd Stephens)

Zline bunker system installation at Tour 18 Golf Course in Humble, Texas. (Photo: Todd Stephens)

During the renovation, crews updated and renovated about 86 bunkers, Stephens estimates. The course also eliminated a few bunkers during the update.

“It’s something that would benefit us. It was a good product that would work in our case and something be able to be a good economical fit as well,” he says. “With the new ones from my point of view, they’re such a big saving on labor costs and getting the bunkers prepped for play.”

Stephens says the amount of work to get bunkers ready before the full renovation was a big motivator to update the bunkers. Heavy rains are common in this part of Texas.

“We get a lot of heavy rains here — one inch in an hour, two inches in an hour and a half — which can really knock down a lot of the bunkers in terms of the sand,” he says.

When Hurricane Harvey hit the area in August 2017, Stephens says he could tell his course’s older bunkers from the bunkers that trialed the Zline system.

“The ones that went through Harvey performed well considering we had 52 inches of rain in three or four days,” he says. “Our bunkers before were really bad. It was a night and day difference.”

Stephens encourages superintendents considering a bunker renovation to look at the options available and evaluate their benefits.

“When that time comes when you are going to renovate them, it’s worth the time to really invest in looking at the type of materials to best suit your needs,” he says. “To me, it’s about finding the right fit to fit their own personal needs and course needs. There’s all different pricing and different style products. You try to find the best fit in both ways in how it performs and how economical it is.”



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