How did Loch Lomond Golf Club solve its bunker problems?

By: March 12, 2021

Jim Moore wrote an interesting article (Bunkers: Can your golf course afford them?) about the challenges of maintaining bunkers in golf courses.

He listed how golf clubs are trying to avoid overspending the budget (e.g. buying cheaper fertilizer, using generic pest control products, etc.). We can agree with him that labor is probably the biggest expenditure of a golf club. wrote

“Approximately 50 to 70% of the maintenance operating budget is typically allocated for labor, payroll taxes, and benefits.”

Loch Lomond Golf Club-clubhouse

I highlighted this because I am not the only one who spends quite a lot of time in bunkers (cca. 48% of golfers).

As a result of this golf clubs – like the Loch Lomond Golf Club – are forced into ongoing bunker maintenance and renovation. This task is labor-intensive.

Of course, there are cases when the golf club eliminates its bunkers to save on costs.

Loch Lomond Golf Club bunkers

I believe it is not a constraint for Loch Lomond Golf Club. By the way, Scottish Golf Annual Report 2020 found

  • 6.1% – it has seen its biggest ever rise in club membership in one year from October 2019 to September 2020.
  • The total playing membership in Scotland rose from 179,857 to 190,777, its highest figure since 2016!!!
  • Adult and junior female membership rose only very slightly from 21,151 to 21,614 for the former and from 2,535 to 2,619 for the latter.
  • Scottish Golf provided investment worth £685,000 to Scottish golf clubs. A total of 354 clubs applied for and received the £500 Covid-19 fixed cost grant totaling £173,340.
Loch Lomond Golf Club 7th hole bunker upgrade

Loch Lomond Golf Club & Capillary Concrete

The Scottish, exclusive Loch Lomond Golf Club has just completed a huge 4-year renovation project – at a total cost of £7.5 million.

85% of the golf course has been sand-capped (apart from the USGA greens), its drainage infrastructure rebuilt, its irrigation system completely renewed and its bunkers reconstructed using the Capillary Bunkers lining system.

David Cole MG, the club’s director of golf course and estates says

“We average around 2000mm (79 inches of rain a year), and our bunker design has some steep faces in places. As a result, we have always suffered badly from washouts and contamination.

Bunker maintenance is our second-largest consumer of greenkeeping resources, second to greens – due to the design, the size (8500m2), the amount, the player expectations, and the environment, it takes a lot of resources to prepare the bunkers internally and externally for play on a daily basis, and it was frustrating not being able to produce a consistently good product from this valuable resource due to the ageing infrastructure and the uncontrollable element of frequent rainfall