|The par 3 No. 6 is among those that received bunker treatment.|
Bunker restoration refreshes Manufacturers, reflects Flynn's vision
Manufacturers Golf & Country Club experienced a bunker makeover in 2015. The William Flynn design restored all 60 of its sandy structures.
“We’re absolutely thrilled with the result,” Chris Pacheco, the club’s greens chairman, said. “Over the course of quite a few years, Manufacturers has addressed bunker issues, but never in a comprehensive way. It’s been kind of piecemeal. The greens committee, the board of governors, the management of the club all really got behind the idea of doing it right. For Manufacturers, this is a really big deal.”
Manufacturers enlisted the services of Forse Design and Mottin Golf Course Renovations, LLC, both of which hold Flynn credentials. The bunker restoration project, which cost less than $850,000, began in the fall of 2014 and wrapped up prior to Memorial Day 2015.
“We truly kept much of Flynn’s original vision,” Jim Nagle of Forse Design said. “Overall, the project was a resounding success because of the team efforts of everybody involved. There weren’t many challenges.”
Perhaps the most critical component of the bunker restoration was drainage. Club officials consulted with Dan Meersman, superintendent at Philadelphia Cricket Club, who developed the Matrix Bunker System. Bunkers throughout the club’s Militia Hill Course constantly washed out, fueling Meersman’s desire for a more pervious liner to use beneath the sand. Six bunkers at Militia Hill received Matrix treatment in 2009; the remaining holes throughout the club’s three courses soon followed.
“Matrix has the binding agent 100 percent coded to the particle, which gives it phenomenal stability,” Meersman said.
Coincidentally, Manufacturers sought sand stability in the restoration and knew exactly where to turn.
“Part of the apprehension of spending an incredible amount of money on bunkers is the previous liner system that was available had a relatively alarming fail rate and a short shelf life. You ended up with a lot of soil infiltration,” Pacheco, a Manufacturers member of 20 years and greens chairman for the last four, said. “The history at Cricket with this product really proved to us that this system has merit. In looking at it and talking to Dan and getting our boots on the ground, we became convinced it was the best approach to take.”
Club officials also knew that Nagle and his team fit their bunker vision. Forse Design implemented Manufacturers’ master improvement plan in 2002 and conducted countless projects, including the reconstruction of the greens on Nos. 4, 9 and 17, ever since.
“We were completely happy with the work they had done in the past, so it was just a natural extension,” Pacheco, 58, of Blue Bell, Pa., said. “We weren’t disappointed, He did a fantastic job. He’s really keyed into some of the challenges we face. You get a sense from Jim that he has a real love for the golf course.”
“Having an understanding of Flynn and his use of the ground … he used it beautifully in the routing of Manufacturers,” Nagle, 46, of Uniontown, Pa., added. “The scale of his bunkers is important. When you apply it to Manufacturers, it’s such a broadly undulating, graceful course. The scale of the bunkers and what the person sees from the amount of sand is important because it has to match the land there.”
What visitors to Manufacturers will see is spectacular sand to match its’ topographical terrain.
Golf Association of Philadelphia
Founded in 1897, the Golf Association of Philadelphia (GAP) is the oldest regional golf association in the United States and serves as the principal ruling body of amateur golf in its region. Its 151 Full Member Clubs and 57,000 individual members are spread across parts of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland. As Philadelphia’s Most Trusted Source of Golf Information, the Golf Association of Philadelphia’s mission is to promote, preserve and protect the game of golf.