Thursday, 26 July 2012

Restoration of 7th Hole Bunkers at Highlands Links

Bunker Builder Thomas Dunne
This week I was back at Highlands Links. Along for the ride was Golf Writer Thomas Dunne who worked with the construction crew. Thomas will be writing an article on his experiences of working on a golf construction crew.

The work on the 7th hole was one of the more complicated projects. The first fairway bunker on the left was a typical restoration where most landforms were largely intact. All we needed to do was put the form back together by removing all the Cooke mounds from the left side. The bunker matches the 1941 photo beautifully. We started there because it was the easiest work to do.

7th fairway bunkers
The next bunker was the right side fairway bunker. Graham Cooke had split this into a series of bunkers, whereas the original was a monster. We not only restored the massive bunker that climbs up the hill to create an intimidating presence, but Thomas got the job of restoring the original island.

I enjoyed watching Thomas obsess over the shapes and features. I tried to stay away so he could go through the trial and error of re-creating a feature alone. I watched from a distance and laughed each time he looked up and down at the photo and the island. I laughed because that’s also what I do. He should be proud of that afternoon because its pretty much spot on.

The next day saw driving rain. If you think my job is all fun and excitement. I spent the entire morning in a deep drainage trench insuring the drain line went in on grade and was backfilled carefully enough to avoid crushing the pipe. With all the stone, this was tough. With all the rain, it was dreadful. But now a significant problem bunker is drained.

The bunker at the green

Today was the final day and we got 95% of the bunker done before I had to go. I’ve taken a picture for you to see. The crew will finish the rest of without me. I’ll see the results next trip out when I do the last hole left.

I have to give Thomas major credit for how hard he worked. Long hours, driving rain and even two hours picking stones. There wasn’t a task he didn’t do and hopefully he got to try every technique we used too. I look forward to his article and I hope be enjoyed the experience !

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