Last year saw the six-course Landings Club in Georgia, USA install the Capillary Bunkers liner on its Magnolia course as part of a large-scale renovation with Arnold Palmer Design architect Brandon Johnson, and the resulting work is already paying dividends.
Chris Steigelman, the club’s director of ground and projects, says: “We have dabbled with various bunker drainage techniques across our courses, though none of them apart from Magnolia have wall to wall liners. But part of the goals of the renovation project was to reduce our bunker maintenance workload. Brandon’s designs called for the bunker surface area to be reduced by 50 per cent, and with the Capillary Bunkers liner, the amount of time we now spend on bunker sand maintenance has gone down dramatically.”
The new-look Magnolia has retained the steeply flashed bunker faces that the course previously had, and Steigelman says that the liner has played an important role in making the design work effectively.
“We get around 50 inches of rain a year, and in the summertime we often get thunderstoms coming from out of nowhere and dumping a huge load of rain on us,” he explains. “Previously, every time we got a big rain, the bunkers were destroyed, and I had to put several guys on rebuilding them for several days. Now, that doesn’t happen.”
The club started the renovation project in March 2021, with the Capillary Bunkers installation starting in June. The bunkers were finished in August, and the course reopened – hosting a Korn Ferry Tour event in its first week – at the start of November. Georgia-based contractor Todd Godwin Construction handled the work.
Steigelman says the benefits of the Capillary Bunkers technology have already been made very clear. “We operate two golf courses out of the Magnolia maintenance facility, the Marshwood course as well as Magnolia,” he says. “We got hit by two tropical storms, one on a Sunday night at the end of June: seven inches of rain, four in an hour and a half. It trashed the bunkers on Marshwood, to the extent that we had to spend $25,000 dollars on new bunker sand. The bunkers on Magnolia were like nothing had ever happened. It was incredible. I took our board out there and said to them ‘This is what you’re paying for’.”
“I’m very grateful that we chose Capillary Bunkers, because of the ease of installation. During the build, it was raining every day, and so we wouldn’t have been able to install some of the competitor products. But the guys were just out there laying the concrete and then putting plastic sheeting over it to help it dry!”