Golf Course Architecture: Issue 57 - July 2019

31 We also reduced the size of several bunkers that we felt did not need to be so large and in one case – hole five – reduced the size of the front two bunkers to allow for a more generous run-up shot onto the putting surface. All bunkers were rebuilt to Better Billy Bunker specifications. We also wanted to eliminate the sand ‘build- up’ around the bunker edges that inevitably happens, either from sand blasted from bunker shots, wind blowing sand out, or a bunker rake going in and out of bunkers. All bunkers required sod around the perimeters, which was done with dormant Celebration Bermuda. The project was timed so that it would not have to sit for long before it began to green up and become viable. Since it was done at the end of the winter we had to consider the possibility of some bad weather but luckily, we were able to work almost continuously. What do you think returning players and members will notice most? I am excited that the members will notice a total consistency from bunker to bunker, both from an aesthetic and playability standpoint. I feel sure that for the majority of members, playability will be the most important factor. Since the bunkers have always been pleasant to look at, I am not sure there will be a ‘wow’ factor with the new bunkers, although for some I think they will like the look considerably better. From a maintenance standpoint, I think making them smaller and being able to keep sand on the slopes after heavy rains will be huge. The sand quality and playability are fantastic – it has turned out great. The club is very pleased with the bunkers and they have been well received by the membership. I have been working at James River now for about 20 years and the continuity of the administration, grounds department, and the golf committees has ensured that the golf course and club continue to get better and better. Who did you work with on the James River project? Golf course superintendent Rob Wilmans was on site every day and Total Turf Golf Services was the golf course contractor for the project. I was very impressed with their ability to translate my plans from paper onto the ground. John LaFoy oversaw a project to rebuild every bunker on the course at James River Country Club Photos: Sigmon Taylor Photography