After successfully working on the ninth hole at Whitecraigs Golf Club in Glasgow, golf course architect Paul Kimber was asked to submit a further proposal for successive work. What he suggested proved to be one of the most popular recommendations ever made at the Scottish club.
Of your suggestions, what did the club eventually go for?
“In front of the tee, there was an 11m high and very steep hill that once negotiated left a nice approach to the 14th green, but it was difficult to maintain and made the hole difficult to play, especially for the ladies and seniors who are that bit closer to the hill. It was stopping people playing the entire back nine.”
So something had to be done?
“The assumption was that it was made of rock. During our initial exploratory work, we were able to dig down a metre and half. We brought in a bigger digger and dug down a couple of more metres relatively easily. It was enough to suggest the rock was breaking up enough so we could reshape the hill. We started ripping into it in October and the new hole opened a couple of weeks ago.”
What’s been the reaction at the club since the completion of the work?
“According to the former greens convenor who commissioned the job, it has been the most popular change at the course ever. He said the shaping of the fairway is great and the project has really enhanced the back nine.”
How did you use Hugh King’s sand during the project?
“The whole thing had to be turfed so we used Hugh King’s Washed Dune sand to improve the topsoil. Because we were re-turfing it, we wanted to make sure it got established quickly. The hole was out of play for a winter. Most clubs will tolerate one hole being out of play. They shortened it so they still had 18 holes but not the same length.”
How much sand did you use and how effective was it?
“We covered the entire site with an inch of sand. So, with the whole area measuring about 2,000m2, that worked out to be about 70 tonnes. The Washed Dune sand was great. It did the job and helped the turf knit in quickly.”
How important was it to get the hole back in play quickly?
“It is always an issue with any existing course – how much disruption there is going to be. The sand does help. As well as creating better soil for the turf it firms up the surface meaning if the weather is bad, you can work on it longer. It helps you to guarantee that you can get the work done when you say you will.”
So the sand played an important role?
“The club is pleased with what we have done, so that’s a good start. Using Hugh King’s sand has certainly helped us as a contractor. It has helped us to get the work done within the schedule we had.”