The brainchild of former Ryder Cup player, and BBC golf commentator, Clive Clark, Dumbarnie Links is the largest new golf construction project underway in the UK during 2018. Clark, a California based golf course architect for the past 20 years and part of the US consortium funding the project has realised a lifetime ambition to design and build a true, traditional links in his homeland.
The links will comprise the full array of design features you would expect to see along the Scottish coast: wild high dunes, wall to wall fescue, humps and hollows, sandy ‘blow out’ areas, a meandering burn and even a nod to North Berwick in the form of a rugged stone wall, very much in play on the risk reward 17th hole. As you would expect, the course will also feature 53 menacing revetted pot bunkers and this is where the developer and contractor (Landscapes Unlimited) decided to make a very slight break from tradition.
After first seeing the EcoBunker revetting system on several projects in the USA, notably Secession, The Medalist, Greenbrier and various TPC venues, the Dumbarnie Development team were fully aware of the beautiful natural aesthetics and the fact that golfers are simply unaware of the synthetic nature of the bunker walls. After preliminary discussions with Clark, and a meeting with Ecobunker Ltd at GIS 2018 in San Antonio, a cost benefit study was undertaken, comparing the performance of EcoBunker’s system, with all other options including the traditional natural sod construction method.
Richard Allen, CEO of Ecobunker Ltd was able to provide proof of major maintenance savings at clubs that had already installed EcoBunker and the unrivalled engineered resilience of the product, which has survived the most severe hurricanes with no damage whatsoever. In April 2018, Landscapes Unlimited commissioned EcoBunker Ltd as a sub-contractor to build all 53 bunkers on the golf course.
EcoBunker Ltd provided a full time site based 6-man team, led by Project Manager, Llewellyn Matthews, a former Walker Cup golfer, qualified greenkeeper and one of the world’s most experienced golf bunker construction specialists. Supporting Llewellyn was a highly skilled team, featuring Patrick Hothersall, a veteran of New South Wales GC, Pine Valley (USA) and Ellerston (Australia) as the deputy project manager and other local staff drawn from Panmure and Bruntsfield Links.
EcoBunker Ltd were responsible for all the bunker construction tasks and at the time of writing the project is now entering the 12th week of a 16 week contract, and is scheduled to be completed on time before the end of October 2018.
Even though the course is not due to open until the summer of 2019, some of the bunkers already look as if they have been in place on the Fife coastline for 100 years or more!
Richard Allen, the engineer behind the synthetic bunker wall concept summarises what this project means to EcoBunker Ltd:
‘Building a brand-new genuine links, at the home of golf has to be a once in a lifetime opportunity for all those involved. We thank Clive Clark and the development consortium for their vision and the trust they have placed in EcoBunker. Their wise investment will further prove that this product has a place at even the most traditionally minded golf clubs.’