This article was originally published in Golf Course Architecture By Richard HumphreysTue 14 Jan, 2020
Harley Kruse has completed a comprehensive renovation project at Killara Golf Club, located in the northern suburbs of Sydney, Australia.
Kruse’s project involved the reconstruction of all eighteen green complexes, the reversal of two holes, rebuilding some fairway bunkers and the elimination of a par three while bringing a spare hole into the normal rotation.
“Greens were suffering; the rootzone wasn’t good and they were all poa,” said Kruse. “They were small, averaging 370 square metres, and basically flat, with very limited strategic value. We have increased them to an average size of 500-550 square metres, with lots more interest; we’ve also taken out 300 big trees and opened up the vistas.”
The bunker style created by Dr Alister MacKenzie and his collaborators Alex Russell and Mick Morcom for Melbourne sandbelt courses, such as Royal Melbourne and Kingston Heath, provided inspiration for Kruse and club.
They wanted to introduce a similar bunker style, but the clay soil at Killara meant that was going to be difficult. However, course manager at Ellerston Golf Club Rod Hinwood provided a solution after he demonstrated the successful results that Ecobunker was delivering on his bunker edges, which had previously been vulnerable to erosion. “It occurred to me that we might be able to do something similar at Killara, and thus be able to get the edging treatment that we wanted,” said Kruse.
The bunkers are now lined with Capillary Concrete and feature a 40-centimetre-high lip constructed using the Ecobunker Advanced synthetic bunker edging system. The sand is flashed up the Ecobunker wall – held in place by the Capillary Concrete – and the bunker surrounds can be mowed right to the edge because of the strength the Ecobunker and Capillary Concrete underpinnings provide.
“Ecobunker was designed from the outset to give architects the maximum freedom to create the bunker shapes they wanted,” said Ecobunker CEO Richard Allen. “The work that Harley has done at Killara is a classic example of that. When I first went to Melbourne last year, the principal reason was to see the sandbelt bunkers up close; the fact that our product has allowed a great architect to create similar bunkers on unsuitable soil is fantastic. This style of bunker has long been something of a ‘holy grail’ for a lot of golf courses that simply haven’t been able to implement it because of their soil conditions. Now, they can see a proven solution that will allow them to do so.”
Kruse said: “If we had tried to do that edge using the site soils, it would crumble away. Getting that stable lip in clay soils is very difficult to achieve. But Ecobunker allows us to do it.”