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First European tournament with synthetic bunkers at Dumbarnie

6.10pm 9th August 2021 - Course Development - This story was updated on Friday, August 13th, 2021

The Trust Golf Women’s Scottish Open, which takes place this week on the new Dumbarnie Links course in Fife, will be the first tier one professional event in Europe ever to be played at a venue with synthetic-edged bunkers.

Dumbarnie, which was designed by Clive Clark and opened last year will play host to its first major event as the Ladies European Tour descends on the course as part of a two-week links swing that will be completed by next week’s Women’s British Open at Carnoustie.

“Dumbarnie features some really impressive, bold revetted bunker walls, some of which are in the region eight to nine feet high,” says Richard Allen, CEO of EcoBunker Ltd. “Back in 2007 my original aim was to invent a resilient and affordable system for low edge bunkers, but soon I was designing solutions for higher and higher links style bunkers. The change in design parameters prompted me to invent a new construction method, which is now Patent Pending, using a cement modified backfill for increased stiffness and stability. It was the perfect solution for Dumbarnie, and the EcoBunker walls built by our team in 2018 are maturing naturally and beautifully.”

The course also features a number of naturalised bunkers , with a ragged fescue edge, strategically distributed, but the majority of bunkers are hard against greens, or surrounded by short grass, and these are fully revetted using EcoBunkerʼs synthetic solution.Dumbarnie, promoted OB Sports and Landscapes Unlimited, was one of EcoBunker’s first and largest contracting jobs. Construction manager Llewelyn Matthews – like architect Clark a former Walker Cup player – led a five-strong construction crew to build the bunkers, over a eighteen week period.

A synthetic-edged bunker on the 18th hole at Dumbarnie Links

EcoBunker CEO Richard Allen, the inventor both of synthetic revetting and of the later Ecobunker Advanced method, says: “All our team look back with immense pride on the Dumbarnie job. It was truly the job on which Llew Matthews came of age as one of the world’s best bunker builders, and we are delighted to have played a part in the construction of such a stunning course. To see the world’s leading women professionals playing over the course this week will be wonderful, and I’m prepared to bet that course manager Grahame Taylor will spend less time worrying about his bunkers than most people who are hosting a tournament of this stature.”

Architect Clive Clark says: “As the golf course matures, seeds fly into the tiny crevices in the bunker walls, and just like a natural sod bunker, you get grasses in the face that dominate. If 100 golfers played this course, I doubt if five would notice that the bunkers weren’t natural sod.”

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