Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Better Billy Bunkers

As I have mentioned in past updates, 11 bunkers on the course are in the process of being renovated.  We will be constructing them using the "Better Billy Bunker" method.  The bunkers selected were chosen for several reasons; the fabric liner had ripped, gravel had migrated into the sand, they had excessive washouts, or they no longer drained properly. 

Sand and gravel cleaned out of the right bunker on #7
The bunkers at HFCC were constructed using the "Billy Bunker" method which was named after Billy Fuller, former Supt. at Augusta National.  This method uses drain pipes and a gravel layer, followed by a geotextile fabric and then sand.  The gravel layer allows the bunker to accommodate an exceptional amount of rain without causing washouts, while the fabric liner keeps the gravel from migrating into the sand.  This method of bunker construction has been the best method for almost 30 years.  However, it has always had one major problem.  If the fabric liner is ever torn, it is nearly impossible to fix properly without renovating the bunker.  This has lead to a new method called the "Better Billy Bunker".
Sand and gravel cleaned out of the fairway bunkers on #6.
With the "Better Billy Bunker" method, the fabric liner is not used and the gravel layer is sprayed with a patented polymer.  The polymer basically glues all the gravel together creating an exceptionally hard cohesive surface, and since the gravel is glued together, it cannot migrate into the sand. Even after the gravel is treated, it still maintains excellent porosity and drainage characteristics.  The sand is then applied directly over the treated gravel layer.  This method promises reduced washouts, elimination of silt contamination, and lower maintenance costs.  If you have any questions about this method, please feel free to visit the Better Billy Bunker website; http://billybunker.com/

Polymer being applied to a bunker.
At this point, we are nearly finished cleaning out the old sand and gravel from the bunkers.  We will soon be putting in new drain lines and then the gravel layer.  Fore Front Construction will then come out and treat the bunkers with the polymer.  After that is finished, we will then fill the bunkers with new sand.  So long as the weather holds, we should have these finished about the third week of April.