A Durham hotel is ploughing hundreds of thousands of pounds into holes in the ground.
Ramside Estates Ltd, owners of Ramside Hall Hotel and Golf Club, is investing £200,000 in restoring and upgrading bunkers at its championship Prince Bishops’ golf course.
The Jonathan Gaunt-designed championship course has more than 80 bunkers and the restoration work will focus on upgrading 40 by installing new technologies to improve drainage and protect against the effects of flooding and adverse weather.
Roger Shaw, courses manager at Ramside Estates Ltd, said: "After 20 years of play, the drainage systems in our Prince Bishops’ bunkers have begun to struggle and need renovating.
"This is going to be the biggest bunker renovation project I’ve undertaken in over 30-years of green-keeping and promises to deliver exceptional improvements in the way our bunkers play and handle wet weather."
The 21-year-old resort has purchased a new Wacker Neuson ET65 excavator to carry out the two-year restoration project. The excavator is fitted with a Helac Powertilt head which can be used to dig out earth, shape and refine the bunker complexes.
Ramside is also investing in Capillary Concrete, an innovative Swedish product, to upgrade bunker drainage and prevent wash-outs in bad weather.
Capillary Concrete is being used in some of the world’s best golf resorts, including Ryder Cup venue Gleneagles in Scotland, and was successfully trialled at Ramside over the Summer.
Capillary Concrete is an innovative bunker lining product and has the financial backing of 10-time Major winner and LPGA legend Annika Sorenstam.
The concrete is inserted into the lining of a bunker and is able to drain enormous amounts of moisture through a capillary action while retaining enough moisture in the sand to leave it consistently playable and evenly spread.
The bunker renovations are the latest phase in a multi-million pound programme of investment that has seen Ramside build a second 18-hole championship course, an all-weather synthetic short game practice facility, a second practice putting green and a new storage shelter for 36 ClubCar golf buggies.
Helen Roseberry, director of golf at Ramside Hall Hotel and Golf Cub, said: "Today’s golf market is increasingly competitive and golf course owners have to look at ways to improve their facilities and deliver an outstanding experience for members and visitors.
"It was clear to us that the bunkers on our Prince Bishops’ Course needed new technology to withstand the weather and match the quality course conditions golfers enjoy when they tee up at Ramside.”
The renovation programme is now underway and will continue throughout the winter . Ten bunkers have already been renovated and more are expected to be finished and ready for the 2018 season.