Golf Course Architecture: Issue 57 - July 2019

53 has a three-man crew. The poor superintendent does not stand a chance in that situation. These courses would be more strategically interesting with 50,000 square feet of bunkers, wider fairways and added short grass around the greens.” So the question then arises: how do you prioritise renovation work according to budgets available? The best and most effective way, golf architects agree, is to have a long-term master plan drawn up by a suitable architect that identifies potential improvements and allows the club to plan up to ten or more years into the future, executing work as finances and other priorities allow. Although a master plan is the most organised, strategic way to plan works, it isn’t always necessary. There are times when priorities, at least the highest ones, are obvious to all concerned. At Richmond Golf Club in Surrey, England, a few years ago, it didn’t take a detailed study to realise that the course’s bunkers were the top priority, so the club engaged with architect Tim Lobb to do a bunker rebuild. Together, architect and club decided that the most cost-effective way to progress the project would be to buy a suitable tilt bucket excavator, and for course manager Les Howkins to act as principal shaper on the job. As it happens, Howkins discovered a natural flair for the work, and the new bunkers were extremely well received, by members and guests alike. Not bad for £120,000 (which included some minor works to one green). One common reason for looking at renovation work is to change grass species in some way; from bent (and/ or poa) to one of the newer dwarf bermudas, or other more advanced strain of warm season grass in transition zones, or to get a more sustainable stand of fine-leaved grasses as was the case on the Old course at Ballybunion a couple of years ago. Ballybunion was able to prepare for, and minimise, the cost of its project by growing the new fescue turf for its greens in part of the practice ground; not every course will have this opportunity. Seeds or sprigs of new, high-tech grass breeds can be expensive, and if there is a desire for Architect Clyde Johnson proposed a ‘modest yet thoughtful refinement’ for the Seacroft links in Lincolnshire, England Photo: Clyde Johnson