The overall work and changes carried out on this hole are pretty impressive, so forgive me if there are lots of photos to go through. Much more thought will need to go into playing this hole going forward in terms of course management in my opinion.
Probably the biggest challenge faced on this hole during the construction process was the pair of fairway bunkers off the tee, which were due to be remodelled into one bunker - unfortunately the weather in February and early March was not kind and this proved to be a difficult feat to say the least!
As anyone who has seen the video post on the club's Facebook page (which has now been viewed over 815,000 times btw) will know, these bunkers were prone to severe flooding/retention of water and regularly became large pools of water after heavy rainfall. The photo below, taken last year, shows just what we would normally expect to see - the water was unable to reach the drains below the sand (which was completely silted up) and the water would remain in the bunkers for days if we did not manually pump it out.
After letting the water away, much of the turf outside the bunkers was stripped to use elsewhere in terms of revetting the outlines of other bunkers on this hole and others nearby. This whole area (both fairway and into the rough) has been soaking wet over the last couple of months and additional drainage work is also being carried out in the near future to help address this issue.
Once the existing bunkers were dug out and reshaped into one (very big) new bunker, the revetted turf edge could then be laid and the surrounding area shaped and prepared for topsoiling:-
The next couple of photos show how the bunker progressed from here - the gentleman under the umbrella is our current Green Convenor, Tim Beringer, in case anyone was wondering!
The bunkers further down the fairway, which normally come into play for the 2nd (or 3rd?) shot, have also been remodelled, with one of the bunkers being removed and the new and/or remodelled other bunker extending further out into the fairway, which will certainly make most of us think of our positional play, i.e. to lay up short of this bunker from now on!
With the remodelled bunker now extending some 3m further out towards the middle of the fairway, the sequoiadendron (fir) tree on the left hand side has now come under closer scrutiny - for the time being, the lower branches of this tree have been removed/tidied up to enable some form of escape shot to be played by 'punching out' from underneath or behind this tree, but a suggestion has already been made to remove this tree altogether, and this will be kept under review for the time being.
Lastly, we move on to the two greenside bunkers and the existing bunker to the short right of the green - all of which have been remodelled in situ, with subtle contouring of the surrounding areas and drains being introduced to help divert water away from the bunkers in future (to prevent washouts and contamination of the sand, etc).
The photos below should illustrate the excellent work carried out by DAR Golf without me having to go into any great detail:-
Despite the challenging weather conditions during most of February and early March, the efforts made to date by course architect Ken Kearney, DAR Golf, the Green Committee and our own superb green staff has ensured the work done in this area (probably the most difficult part of the front nine to access) has been exemplary and the proof is most definitely in the pudding, as evidenced below:-
Hole #3 summary to follow next.
29th March 2020