Tuesday, 23 August 2011

The Return to Highlands Links

17th on Monday night - we began the next day

The goal of the week is to restore the bunkers on the 17th hole.

Tuesday began in pouring rain. Actually come to think of it every day I have worked here it has rained … Ok that’s not true … but almost every day has! I decided to take on the front right and back left bunkers today. The front right bunker was extended left about ten feet to restore the far end and the right side was expanded to reintroduce the original bay that had been lost. What both combinations did is put the front bunker back in scale with the back bunker.

The right and back bunkers pretty much redone

 The back bunker was once one of the most interesting bunkers on the course. It had slowly evolved into a long simple bunker for maintenance reasons. It took a while to figure out the old lines, but we returned the old capes and bays to get the shapes back to match what we saw on the photo. I was pleased as we chased sand all the way up the hill to return the main bay. I introduced the crew to “chunking” where we excavate the fescue bank in large chunks and then puzzle it back together to create all the noses and lost lines where the bunker is filled in. The back bunker looked amazing after we did that.

You can see both essentially have their shape in the photos I enclosed.

The green cleaned up after a 4" watermain broke!

Everything was going TOO well all days as the work progressed far faster than expected. Then all hell broke loose as Jeff (the excavator operator) found a 4” irrigation pipe right beside the back bunker. The green was quickly inundated by a river that looked the colour of the Colorado. It took about 20 minutes to turn the valves off and then about an hour and half for eight guys to repair the irrigation break and remove all the silt, water and mud from the green with snow shovels, squeegees and upside down bunker rakes.

I worked 12 hours today shovelling, raking and getting about as muddy as you can imagine. Outside of the irrigation break, I could not have had a better day.



  1. Looks good Ian. I love 17 as I can't, off the top of my head, think of another green that breaks side to side instead of back to front. It really makes for some fun pins and interesting putts. On another note my Dad just found a photo from 1945 of the 5th hole and the front right bunker is some kind of animal head shape and the back right bunker (which you added in the spring)is non-existent. In your restoration, which photos are you using for reference. I know you talk of finding the sand of old bunkers, but just because there's sand under the ground, doesn't mean it's a Thompson bunker (as of course you know). I don't want to sound negative, I just want the course restored as closely as possible to what Stanley built and envisioned. Keep up the great work, I can't wait to see it when you're done.

  2. Evan,

    Please have you father send what he has. I can only restore to the images that I have.

    The aerial I have is from the early 50's and so is the image we used to do the work. It's one of the only holes where I've had to use a later image. I do have the image with the barn, but that is from half way through the project.

  3. Ian,
    He just got the image after his trip out east this summer and has been away for the past week as well. I'll have him send you a copy when he gets home on the 30th.