Full bunker rejuvenation programme leads to positive feedback all round
By SCG Newsdesk
One of Scotland’s most prestigious and best-loved golf clubs has bucked recent trends by re-investing heavily in its golf course - and the club says it is now “reaping the full benefit” of a full bunker re-development programme carried out last winter.
The West Kilbride Golf Club, established in 1893, is situated on the Ayrshire coast, with spectacular views across the Firth of Clyde to the island of Arran. As host to regular national events, West Kilbride is the most northerly of Ayrshire’s true links courses and the entire layout is exposed to even the slightest breeze.
With the strongest of winds coming from the South West and North West, the 6,523 yard course offers players the experience of links golf at its most demanding.
The club has a committed membership base and its motto is “Gaudio Cedat Cura” – which translates to ‘Care gives way to joy’, perhaps testament to the club’s recent decision to rejuvenate over 40 bunkers last winter.
“We essentially wanted to make them look and play a lot better,” said managing secretary Graham MacKenzie.
“On some of the older bunkers the drainage had suffered and over time had developed a poor shape. We also wanted natural looking bunkers – to give the course more of a links feel and after the Committee consulted course architect, Stuart Rennie, we decided to go ahead with the project.”
Rennie Design Ltd undertook an analytical study of the facilities and following an in-depth report, plans for the renovation works were soon put in place.
Souters Sports were chosen for the construction, which commenced in late October 2016 and was complete by the end of February 2017, allowing time for establishment in advance of the season ahead.
The works incorporated the strategic repositioning of bunkers, building bunkers in similar positions, shaping support mounding and landform, drainage installation, irrigation alterations and finishing.
The final piece of works was carried out on the 18th hole where the entire hole was re-bunkered to create improved strategy and deliver a visually impressive finishing hole.
“What a great season’s golf we’ve had,” said MacKenzie. “The feedback has been extremely good, not only from members but also from visiting parties and those playing in our open days.
“The appearance is most notable and they look a lot tidier than they previously did and they also play considerably better.
“I’d encourage anyone who hasn’t played the course in a while to get down to West Kilbride and have a game.
“We’re renowned for being able to accommodate golfers 12 months of the year and our winter green fee is only £30.”
Visitor party bookings for next season are available, with a number of packages on offer. See westkilbridegolfclub.com.