Talamore Golf Resort in Southern Pines, N.C., has taken a “cutting-edge’ approach to enhancing its distinctive sod wall bunkers. The popular resort, which features Talamore, designed by Rees Jones, and Mid South Club, designed by Arnold Palmer, has become one of the first golf resorts in the country to install EcoBunkers. EcoBunkers are reputed to provide the strongest and most efficient method of constructing stacked sod walls using synthetic grass tiles.
Ten sod wall bunkers at the Talamore Resort course on holes 2, 5, 9, 15, and 17 are now lined with tiles that are layered and precision-angled. While some of the bunkers stand as tall as seven feet, they will not require as much maintenance.
“As a bonus, they’re beautiful like the bunkers you see over in the British Isles during the Open Championship,” said Talamore GM Matt Hausser. “Plus, they’ll last for decades.
“It’s something different, especially here around Pinehurst, which golfers don’t see when they’re in town It’s a different look. It’s clean. It’s a very neat experience. Some people might think they’re a little daunting, but I think it’s going to be something cool that golfers will talk about. It’s one of those things where you hit into a couple of the big ones and you get out or you get up and down. It gives them something else to talk about afterwards.”
The addition of the EcoBunkers at Talamore is part of an ongoing, multi-million-dollar resort enhancement that includes the addition of a Toptracer Range at Talamore and a large new practice putting green.
The origins of the EcoBunker edging system date back to late 2006 at Radyr Golf Club in Cardiff, South Wales, a golf course that was designed by the legendary architect Harry S Colt. Club member Richard Allen, a civil engineer and golf course design enthusiast, discovered that the extensive bunker work was being performed primarily because the bunker edges were vulnerable to erosion. In addition, the ongoing repair costs were becoming unacceptable.
Bunkers generally occupy less than three percent of the total area of a golf course but often require as much as 25 percent or more of a superintendent’s available resources to maintain. This is especially true with revetted edge or sod-wall bunkers. It is not unusual for golf courses to spend tens and sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars on bunker maintenance.
The system used at Talamore, as well as numerous clubs throughout 40 countries around the world, is a wall constructed on multiple layers of stacked artificial grass tiles. The EcoBunker edge design provides a permanently safe, resilient edge, significantly reduces sand contamination from bunker sides, prevents damage, and eliminates the time-consuming greenkeeping practice of bunker edging.