When I shared this news, Ian D.N. Fetigan, CCM, CAM (former GM at Esplanade Golf & Country Club) told me on Linkedin that he has got a fresh experience with the implementation and usage of CapillaryFlow.
In this article, he will share with us his experience with CapillaryFlow at Esplanade Golf & Country Club.
I was chatting with my former Director of Agronomy, Mickey Subotic on Friday, April 21, 2023, and the topic of the CapillaryFlow project that we completed in 2022 came up.
I asked him if he was still happy with the results of this lengthy project.
He said and I quote “we just had 3” in an hour and no washouts or standing water”. Just so you know, 3” of rain in an hour is not unusual here in SW Florida (more so in the summertime), and one of the most important considerations in deciding on going with CapillaryFlow in our bunker rebuild project.
Ah, but I am getting ahead of myself here. Let me start from the beginning and put some meat on this particular bone for you.
When I joined the team at Esplanade in October 2021 the bunker rebuild project had been discussed and determined necessary. Mickey had done his due diligence reviewing multiple recommendations from peers in the industry, including Billy Bunkers, Zip Liners, and the CapillaryFlow process.
With 3.1 acres of bunkers on the Esplanade golf course and challenges with drainage and sand migration becoming pervasive, it was time for action.
The board approval process took up to 6 months and necessitated experimenting with two of the bunkers in our practice area.
There are multiple contractors in our area that will work with the CapillaryFlow process and Mickey was able to select a construction company that he was familiar and comfortable with (they were also the low bidder on the project).
After much debate and discussion at the board level, we were finally able to begin the project on May 1, 2022.
Due to the multiple supply chain challenges created by the pandemic, what should have been a fairly quick project was actually not completed until August 16, 2022. At least, that was the constant excuse given to our contractor by the concrete provider!
Coordinating the schedule and access to our 18-hole course for our members was challenging and was not only made easy, but seamless by our Director of Golf Aaron Merritt, PGA, another class act at Esplanade Golf & Country Club.
As all of us in private club management know, open, honest, and timely communication to the members regarding any and all projects is critical. So much more so during these post-pandemic times, where we have so little control of both pricing and timing of events throughout the projects that we take on.
This need is exasperated in a CIRA (Common Interest Realty Association), where keeping your residents current with credible information is vital to project success and acceptance by all.
The total project cost was $425,000 and there is no doubt in our mind that it was money well spent. Mickey’s hands-on management of this project ensured that we did not exceed the approved budget.
You can look back at this particular project and so much more on LinkedIn.
You may recall that we were hit by Hurricane Ian, soon after completion where we received 8.5” of precipitation in a fairly short time span. It should be noted that in the cleanup after the storm, we expended zero hours in our bunkers (I believe we spent significantly more time in cleaning up the community).
They not only drained very quickly, but the sand on the faces also stayed in place.
Please read that sentence again as it says it all. Prior to the installation of the CapillaryFlow, we would have experienced total washouts of all 3.1 acres of bunkers and would have spent considerable time and money to put them back in playable condition.
Comments for golf course architects
A sidebar comment here can be directed at golf course architects. When designing courses in the rain belt, knowing that you want to see the greenside bunker faces from as far out as possible, please encourage the installation of CapillaryFlow bunkers during construction.
This will save a lot of time and money when going back after the fact, to fix this situation. I bring it up, because I recall quite clearly a conversation, I had with Robert Trent Jones, Jr., when designing The Founders Golf Club in Sarasota back in 2004.
Despite informing him of our local bunker maintenance challenges caused by extreme rainfall in the summer months, he insisted that the greenside bunkers should be deep with very prominent and visual faces (see photographs above & below).
We ended up going back after the fact and installed bunker liners since CapillaryFlow did not roll out until 2010. Needless to say, this was a significant expense for the membership at that time.
There were a couple of other design issues that RTJ insisted on that we later regretted; however, we do what we must to keep the project moving forward.
Meanwhile, back at Esplanade Golf & Country Club, Mickey, being the consummate professional that he is, did experiment with several very wet bunkers on the course, where prior to the pouring of the CapillaryFlow, he installed granite stone, additional drainage trenches, and a 1” layer of fill.
These bunkers continue to exceed expectations in both drainage and playability.
When asked what he would do differently next time, he said we would source multiple concrete suppliers and write in financial penalty clauses for delivery delays. This is partly because we believe that our delivery experiences were
exasperated by the construction boom currently happening here in SW Florida. This boom has created supply and demand inconsistencies in all building materials. The quantities of concrete that we were purchasing through this process, were not sufficient to keep us at the head of the list!
In summary, we were and are very pleased with the results of this important project. Esplanade Golf & Country Club’s bunkers continue to drain and perform well.
As pretty as they are, you may want to spend some time with your teaching professional so as to stay out of them – I know that is what Aaron would say!
Esplanade Golf & Country Club in Lakewood Ranch is very fortunate to have such a committed and professional Director of Agronomy. Mickey’s skill set is wide-ranging and focused on developing the best golfing experience for his golfers.
Well done Mickey on yet another successfully completed challenging project at Esplanade. Call me and we will do lunch!