Golf Club Atlas

GolfClubAtlas.com => Golf Course Architecture => Topic started by: Terry Lavin on September 23, 2017, 12:35:46 PM

Title: Better Billy Bunker Method
Post by: Terry Lavin on September 23, 2017, 12:35:46 PM
We are having sand contamination issues approximately seven years after putting the white Best sand (Ohio) in at Beverly and many have recommended the Better Billy Bunker method. Who has done this before?  How has the experience been?  How expensive is it?  I'd appreciate any and all feedback.
Title: Re: Better Billy Bunker Method
Post by: Pete_Pittock on September 23, 2017, 02:22:13 PM

We are having sand contamination issues approximately seven years after putting the white Best sand (Ohio) in at Beverly and many have recommended the Better Billy Bunker method. Who has done this before?  How has the experience been?  How expensive is it?  I'd appreciate any and all feedback.
Terry, I can probably answer you tomorrow. Our club has been installing it since 7/1. Scheduled to be done at the end of the month I don't like to play though construction zones, but will make an exception tomorrow morning. Installer is Duininck Golf
Title: Re: Better Billy Bunker Method
Post by: Pete_Pittock on September 23, 2017, 03:11:23 PM

Terry,
Sending PM
Title: Re: Better Billy Bunker Method
Post by: Tom_Doak on September 23, 2017, 03:56:52 PM
It's a great method ... for contractors to make bank and architects to stay busy.
Title: Re: Better Billy Bunker Method
Post by: Terry Lavin on September 23, 2017, 05:19:30 PM
It's a great method ... for contractors to make bank and architects to stay busy.


That resonates with me. I just fear the costly trend that doesn't make a big playability difference but gives a club's leadership an economic engine to leave its mark on the course.
Title: Re: Better Billy Bunker Method
Post by: SL_Solow on September 23, 2017, 05:37:46 PM
Our super Justin Van Landuit who posts here is better qualified.  We installed it in one bunker as an experiment.  It appears to work very well but it is expensive.
Title: Re: Better Billy Bunker Method
Post by: Quinn Thompson on September 23, 2017, 06:15:47 PM
...saw it installed once, but only in select bunkers throughout the course, perhaps a good dozen of them. It was used in bunkers with rather steep faces or in those that had a history of being washed....seen some pictures of the course since then (via the Super) and it's been noticed that after a substantial rain event, the bunkers with the BBB are pretty much left standing as is....seems to work. Expensive is right though; I imagine if the Super had the funds, he would have called for it to be installed throughout the course...what I'm getting at is, from what I remember, Beverly has some bunkers, some rather flat ones, that probably wouldn't need it...?

Title: Re: Better Billy Bunker Method
Post by: BHoover on September 23, 2017, 09:35:57 PM
My former course in Minnesota used the BBB to replace all of our old bunkers. The difference in playability following significant rain events was like night and day. I don't know what it cost the owner, but it was money well spent when you compared the rebuilt bunkers to the old ones.
Title: Re: Better Billy Bunker Method
Post by: Mike_Young on September 23, 2017, 10:56:30 PM
Terry,
It works but as TD says above it is a way for archies to stay busy and contractors to sell.  While it might make sense for a private club which can spread th cost to members, it is tough for a green fee course to justify such when you compare the cost of just adding some new sand, filling a few washes and waiting an extra day to play after significant rain events....JMO
Title: Re: Better Billy Bunker Method
Post by: Jason Topp on September 24, 2017, 12:09:17 AM
The only downside I have observed is the need for the grounds staff to be very vigilant in making sure there is adequate sand coverage within the bunkers to avoid someone bouncing a club or a ball off of a liner surface that is essentially concrete.   You cannot necessarily see that the sand is low without actually stepping in the thing. 
Title: Re: Better Billy Bunker Method
Post by: Matthew Rose on September 24, 2017, 04:04:14 AM
The course closest to me is currently being reno'd and they're doing this for all the bunkers. Looks to me like they spray on some kind of resin / polymer before putting in the sand. I guess the city must be putting a lot of money up if the process is as expensive as noted because I'm pretty certain they've done the entire course with it.




I didn't play the old course enough to be able to tell if it would make any difference or not, as it wasn't my favorite course in the area, but I am looking forward to seeing if they improved it.

Title: Re: Better Billy Bunker Method
Post by: Tom Bacsanyi on September 24, 2017, 07:00:58 PM
One of the alternatives I've seen is to use actual sod as the liner.  I've also heard of sod flipped upside down.  Curious to see if anyone has experience with this.  One nearby course renovated some bunkers recently with sod liners but only time will tell. One thing we should all agree on is that the standard geotextile liners are just headaches waiting to happen.  At my course most of them are blown.


That being said, I see no harm in doing the Better Billys as a trial in certain terrible bunkers on a given course.  I think this might be within most budgets.  Our course has 3 acres (80 something in number) of bunkers that range from really nice to abominable.
Title: Re: Better Billy Bunker Method
Post by: Mark_Fine on September 24, 2017, 08:32:12 PM
There are all kinds of ideas out there for bunkers (the Better Billy Bunker is one of them) but I was taught many years ago by a favorite contractor of mine that, "A dry bunker is a good bunker!"  And if it is designed/built properly with good DRAINAGE, it will function well for a LONG time. 
Title: Re: Better Billy Bunker Method
Post by: Joe Hancock on September 24, 2017, 08:34:55 PM
There are other products that perform similarly to BBB; Capilary Concrete and perveous asphalt. I've had experience with BBB and CC, in that I've shaped bunkers with the installed dimensions of those products in mind


Most often, the bunker liner system is requested and chosen by the superintendent, and then, consequently, by the club/ course leadership. The architect weighs in when considering style, cost and construction/ timing issues.


I think of these things in agronomic and hyraulic terms......if we pile sand up on gravel in a USGA green construction to "perch" the water, then why do we do that in areas that we are trying to keep dry? We do it in bunkers now, and we have done it in drainage trenches for a very long time. I know of a famous East Coast facility that had to modify the bunker bottoms to accomodate the "perched water table" in their BBB installations.....the bunker sand was staying too wet in the very bottom of their typically large bunkers, to the point of growing green algae on the surface of the sand. Coversely, I visited another club, in Chicago, that liked the "perched water table" facet, because their members liked the moisture in the sand......


The thing I do like about these aggregate-based liners is that they stay in place longer, and the intial cost will likely make bunker renovations happen less frequently, which we would all agree is a good thing. Also, theoretically, bunker shapes should become more static.


Costs of these aggregate systems run anywhere $2.50- $4.00 per square foot, installed.
Title: Re: Better Billy Bunker Method
Post by: Terry Lavin on September 24, 2017, 08:48:27 PM
Thanks to all for chiming in. Our superintendent (Kirk Spieth) will make the ultimate recommendation and he has great judgment, so I'm sure we will be in better shape next year and beyond.
Title: Re: Better Billy Bunker Method
Post by: Connor Dougherty on September 24, 2017, 08:50:24 PM
The only downside I have observed is the need for the grounds staff to be very vigilant in making sure there is adequate sand coverage within the bunkers to avoid someone bouncing a club or a ball off of a liner surface that is essentially concrete.   You cannot necessarily see that the sand is low without actually stepping in the thing.


For what it's worth, BBB requires 5 inches of compacted sand to keep the bunkers protected under warranty. Assuming that the superintendent makes sure to occasionally monitor, it shouldn't be much of an issue.


One of the alternatives I've seen is to use actual sod as the liner.  I've also heard of sod flipped upside down.  Curious to see if anyone has experience with this.  One nearby course renovated some bunkers recently with sod liners but only time will tell. One thing we should all agree on is that the standard geotextile liners are just headaches waiting to happen.  At my course most of them are blown.


We did install sod liners on a project I worked on last year. So far I've heard that they're working pretty well but would like to check back to see how they are long term. Installing it upside down seems counterintuitive, but I'd be curious to see it if someone has done it. Have the reports of that been good?


It's a great method ... for contractors to make bank and architects to stay busy.


Tom,
Maybe I'm mis-interpreting your comment, and maybe I've spent too long working on the contractor side of things, but this seems a bit crass and a bit over the top. Sure, it's expensive and not necessary everywhere. But in a place like Dallas, where I'm working currently, where the soil is a dense clay that holds water like none other, and heavy rains are not out of the ordinary (we had a 5" overnight rain in June) it saves the club a lot of work repairing washouts. And at the end of the day, particularly in maintenance, time is money. Maybe not enough to justify the costs, but enough to allow superintendents to focus on other parts of the golf course with their time.


Title: Re: Better Billy Bunker Method
Post by: Jeff_Brauer on September 25, 2017, 08:33:56 AM

I have consulted with a few supers recently who went with BBB to reduce the sand wash on faces.  Both said they saved $70-80K per year in unscheduled shoveling after rains.  I would have guessed $15-20.


If you count all the work (including new white sand, I find the total cost of bunker renovation to be about $6 per SF.


Either way, assuming 3.5% interest rates, and about $70 per thousand annually, it would seem, based on those numbers, that any BBB investment up to $1,000,000  (or over 166,000 bunker SF, when most courses have 50-125K sf of bunkers) would pay off just in labor savings. 


As to the architect and contractor trying to keep busy, well, I have never demanded any course install that.  I usually use the old CBM quote about bringing the cavalry in for the day to "prepare" the bunkers suitably for play.  It has never been taken up.  However, the decision usually comes from the clubs or courses themselves, if that tells you anything about Tom's somewhat snarky comment! 


It is pretty competitive, so I doubt the contractors make big bank on the smaller $$ projects. As an architect, I don't find I can charge a lot for it, or even get called, unless they use that opportunity to reduce or redesign the bunkers. 


BTW, if you are deciding to add bunker liners, it does pay to use that opportunity to rethink your bunkers, both in total number and size, the ones that have "crept away" from the greens (or vice versa)  As mentioned, it can also make sense to change design a bit to max out the benefits.  If there are bunkers that don't see a lot of "action" perhaps they could be removed similar to Tillie's thoughts on duffer headaches. 


In cloth liners in particular, you will probably be hand raking, so reducing some of the bunker size, and perhaps widening out any noses to ease mowing is a good way to go.
Title: Re: Better Billy Bunker Method
Post by: Tom_Doak on September 25, 2017, 09:01:36 AM
Connor:  for whom do you work, exactly?  I'd just like to know who is really calling me crass.


Jeff B:  do you spec Better Billy Bunker on all of your new projects?  If not, why not? if it known to save so much money in labor costs? 


i think architects probably should get involved if all bunkers are going to be rebuilt in that way, because shaping mistakes are going to last a long time or be really expensive to fix, and I do think some architects promote the technology knowing they will get work out of it.  Some of the clubs where we consult have installed it as well, but my role has been as skeptic rather than promoter.  How did golf survive without this technology for its first 300 years?
Title: Re: Better Billy Bunker Method
Post by: Don Mahaffey on September 25, 2017, 09:31:16 AM
I'd really like to see the numbers being used to come up with the savings Jeff is noting. While some of the bunker liners certainly help with sand wash, it's not like you don't still have to go touch em up after a rain.  There may be a delta, but it's not like the bunkers are on auto pilot, which seems to be the ultimate goal anymore with maint. 


I find good bunker and bunker surround shaping has a lot more to do with maintainable bunkers than some fancy liner. But high level shaping is a lot harder for the lay person to recognize and attach a value.
Title: Re: Better Billy Bunker Method
Post by: Ben Cowan (Michigan) on September 25, 2017, 12:21:42 PM
Connor:  for whom do you work, exactly?  I'd just like to know who is really calling me crass.


Jeff B:  do you spec Better Billy Bunker on all of your new projects?  If not, why not? if it known to save so much money in labor costs? 


i think architects probably should get involved if all bunkers are going to be rebuilt in that way, because shaping mistakes are going to last a long time or be really expensive to fix, and I do think some architects promote the technology knowing they will get work out of it.  Some of the clubs where we consult have installed it as well, but my role has been as skeptic rather than promoter.  How did golf survive without this technology for its first 300 years?


Tom,


It was rather crass.  You sound as if u are using the broken window theory with bunkers. Kinda like how we build thin roads in michigan and allow the heaviest trucks on the road so are roads are shitty and constantly being repaired.  Sometimes u take the keynesian progressive side and other times the conservative stance.


Your last sentence is rather weak, that's like saying why don't u ride a train or drive a model T to your jobs or why doesn't the downs roll the greens at 6 anymore? 


I for one hate the crushed rock sand but understand the high end member clubs wanting fu fu shit.  I like my sand dirty and mildly contaminated, it is just fine with me.   That's why I love 2nd and 3rd tier privates they don't have the money to waste on artificial silicon toys are made for boys shit
Title: Re: Better Billy Bunker Method
Post by: AStaples on September 25, 2017, 12:23:06 PM
I find that bunker liners are now an assumed cost by owners when renovating bunkers, regardless of local. I recently did not use liners on a project, and then was challenged by some in the industry that I was cutting quality. In this case we spent a significant amount of time adding the detailed swales to keep water out of the sand, as Don suggests above. So far, they are working very well.


I've seen faces dry out, and the bottoms stay wet as Joe suggests, in many cases. Testing the sand seems to be way more important with liners. The 4 inch cover is a very significant factor.


The one area that is challenging my thoughts on bunker liners, and any other maintenenance intensive feature is Labor in general. I think available staff with low burden is a big issue and adding liners may be something that could be justified by assumed future increases.
Title: Re: Better Billy Bunker Method
Post by: Jeff_Brauer on September 25, 2017, 03:42:06 PM


Connor:  for whom do you work, exactly?  I'd just like to know who is really calling me crass.


Jeff B:  do you spec Better Billy Bunker on all of your new projects?  If not, why not? if it known to save so much money in labor costs? 


i think architects probably should get involved if all bunkers are going to be rebuilt in that way, because shaping mistakes are going to last a long time or be really expensive to fix, and I do think some architects promote the technology knowing they will get work out of it.  Some of the clubs where we consult have installed it as well, but my role has been as skeptic rather than promoter.  How did golf survive without this technology for its first 300 years?


Tom,


Probably an even split between fabrics and BBB, with fabrics winning when upfront cost is the main driver, BBB when long term cost matters more.  The trend is BBB, because supers who have fabrics do experience some problems, none that are not manageable.


My perspective is a bit different than yours.  I recall my first project and seeing the contractor merely dump the sand on bare clay.  Even my sandbox as a kid had a plastic liner separating sand from soil, so I wondered how the simple approach could work, at least in the clay soils of Chicago.


So, while part of me is in the skeptic camp of wanting to stop the unattainable but unending search for maintenance perfection, this isn't one of the things I protest strongly.  For me, the limit comes when installing special irrigation to water the banks separately, and/or installing irrigation to water the sand itself in cases where the sand loss is greatest in fall and winter when irrigation stops.



Title: Re: Better Billy Bunker Method
Post by: Craig Disher on September 25, 2017, 04:41:09 PM
Chechessee Creek Club installed BBB on several bunkers two years ago. Irma brought over 12' of rain in just a few hours around Beaufort, CCC may have had more. Two days after the deluge I saw the bunkers and the ones that had been treated with BBB appeared as though there hadn't been any rain at all. One bunker had a small cave-in at an upper corner but it wasn't clear whether it had been caused by the rain or a sand-pro that went too high on the bunker without sufficient sand between it and the membrane. It's an expensive option but from what I could see it gives great results.
Title: Re: Better Billy Bunker Method
Post by: Tom Bacsanyi on September 25, 2017, 11:07:25 PM
As to the architect and contractor trying to keep busy, well, I have never demanded any course install that.  I usually use the old CBM quote about bringing the cavalry in for the day to "prepare" the bunkers suitably for play.  It has never been taken up.  However, the decision usually comes from the clubs or courses themselves, if that tells you anything about Tom's somewhat snarky comment! 


Jeff, what's the CBM quote you speak of?
Title: Re: Better Billy Bunker Method
Post by: Pete_Pittock on September 26, 2017, 01:10:02 AM

    The Reserve Vineyards is have BBB installed on the South course. That course has 100ish bunkers and a maintenance budget 3x the North course  (bunker area and overall acreage. The bunkers were 20 years old, had steep faces, continually contaminating sand and serious ingress/egress problems ( I had to use a rake for balance to get in/out). Play from bunkers was at best haphazard because of their condition and were not attractive.
     The club contacted the architect, John Fought, who was able to move, reshape or eliminate bunkers to eliminate half the surface area, and steep faces, which eliminates a lot of maintenance costs. Since this is a privately owned club I have no knowledge of actual costs, but I would guestimate this will probably pay for itself in 5-7 years.
     It makes sense for our situation. After a three month vacation, I will play them next week. The only glitch I see is above grade bunkering, with our white sand, leads to framing issues in some cases if relative scales are off kilter.
Title: Re: Better Billy Bunker Method
Post by: Jeff_Brauer on September 26, 2017, 10:17:00 AM

Jeff, what's the CBM quote you speak of?


Don't have the exact quote in front of me, but something to the effect that the best way to prepare bunkers for play was to run the cavalry through them.  Obviously, those days have changed!


I think its an interesting study of human behavior.  Started golfing in 1967.  Plugged and fried egg lies common, and strict instructions to minimize that by raking your bunker.  So, I sort of expect that to be the standard.  My son, starting golf in 1998 expected much more early, and any kid starting now will probably expect bunkers to be absolutely perfect as a matter of right.
Title: Re: Better Billy Bunker Method
Post by: Justin VanLanduit on October 18, 2017, 09:04:53 AM

Terry,
Shelly is correct; we installed in one fairway bunker a few years ago.  I have been utterly amazed at it's performance during heavy rains.  The bunker it was placed in was historically our worst; now no standing water, no washouts, and no contamination from material coming up from the bottom or from washouts.  Very pricey; this bunker was about 2000ft2 and cost us about 10k and we did a good amount of the work in-house. 
My question is what happens when it needs removed?  From my understanding it is given a 10-12yr lifespan.  Know places have gone beyond that.  What is the expense to remove and dispose?  Dig a hole and bury on the course?  With the polymer that is sprayed I'd assume you can't just take to a dump; has to be disposed of in a special manner. 
It's for sure taking off; lots of clubs are doing because of the savings in labor and bunker condition.  I guess the savings over the years from maintenance make up for the cost up front and possibly the cost of removal.


Justin

Our super Justin Van Landuit who posts here is better qualified.  We installed it in one bunker as an experiment.  It appears to work very well but it is expensive.
Title: Re: Better Billy Bunker Method
Post by: Jeff_Brauer on October 18, 2017, 09:25:48 AM

BBB pitches the simplicity of repair, and I have seen it at Cowboys GC here in DFW.  They pulled the sand out (for some reason, they had switched from white to a tan sand, and are now switching back) and when they exposed the BBB, they found a few small cracks and holes, which they tamped down and re-sprayed with the polymer.


It's not like the rocks are ever going to wear out, but I suspect a re-spray of polymers over the entire will eventually be necessary.
Title: Re: Better Billy Bunker Method
Post by: Rick Lane on October 18, 2017, 10:33:20 AM

Jeff, what's the CBM quote you speak of?


Don't have the exact quote in front of me, but something to the effect that the best way to prepare bunkers for play was to run the cavalry through them.  Obviously, those days have changed!


I think its an interesting study of human behavior.  Started golfing in 1967.  Plugged and fried egg lies common, and strict instructions to minimize that by raking your bunker.  So, I sort of expect that to be the standard.  My son, starting golf in 1998 expected much more early, and any kid starting now will probably expect bunkers to be absolutely perfect as a matter of right.

Our club did not do BBB but did put sod floors (grass side up) which seems to be performing well 5 years in.   Your point about newer players (and pros?) expectations is spot on.   I have to constantly remind my friends who complain about "inconsistent" bunkers, that they are a HAZARD, and that the banks of the creek on the course are not consistent either!
Title: Re: Better Billy Bunker Method
Post by: Jeff_Brauer on October 18, 2017, 10:38:24 AM
Yeah, but the ponds are consistently level.....the waves may vary, but not to the extent that they affect play!
Title: Re: Better Billy Bunker Method
Post by: PCCraig on October 18, 2017, 11:33:30 AM
Interlachen CC here in Minnesota is doing a $1mln BBB project this fall. They are not redesigning the bunkers or changing their style, only installing the BBB product in all bunkers. I think the $1mln would of been put to better use restoring their golf course, but apparently bunker maintenance is very important to them.
Title: Re: Better Billy Bunker Method
Post by: jeffwarne on October 19, 2017, 08:19:19 PM
Interlachen CC here in Minnesota is doing a $1mln BBB project this fall. They are not redesigning the bunkers or changing their style, only installing the BBB product in all bunkers. I think the $1mln would of been put to better use restoring their golf course, but apparently bunker maintenance is very important to them.


ick...
sure hope it's crushed white rock
Title: Re: Better Billy Bunker Method
Post by: Jim Sherma on October 21, 2017, 02:13:51 PM
Hunt Valley GC in Maryland put in a form of Billy Bunkers in winter '15-'16. Not sure which of the specific versions, the work was done by Fry and Straka. According to the club they have performed great in terms of cost savings and performance. Even with significant rainfall events there are no wash outs.


For the first year there were a lot of plugged lies. This season the bunkers have played much better after they settled. The one issue that I've seen is some compression in the lowest spot of a couple of the bunkers. Makes it very difficult to get a sand wedge to properly interact with the sand as it is not hard pan but rather appear compressed and pasty. The rest of the bunker is perfect though. Some maintenance is probably required to keep this from happening. Not sure if this is unique to the site or a general maintenance issue with these types of bunkers.
Title: Re: Better Billy Bunker Method
Post by: Rick Lane on October 24, 2017, 11:38:02 AM
After our bunkers were redone with the white crushed rock (and sod floors, not BBB) at first they were very soft.   But by watering them in and letting nature takes its course, they became firm very quickly, and washouts are near zero.   Here we are 5 years later, and they have frankly just gotten better.  We have steep faces, and the side walls are firm and almost crusty, there are never plugged lies in the faces, the balls deflect down to the bottom.   We DO see a few bottoms getting "dense" as you say, but by power raking a few times a week, it is solved.   So now we just power rake the bottoms and leave the sides "crusty".   It all seems to work.....
Title: Re: Better Billy Bunker Method
Post by: Brett Hochstein on November 16, 2017, 02:46:19 PM
After our bunkers were redone with the white crushed rock (and sod floors, not BBB) at first they were very soft.   But by watering them in and letting nature takes its course, they became firm very quickly, and washouts are near zero.   Here we are 5 years later, and they have frankly just gotten better.  We have steep faces, and the side walls are firm and almost crusty, there are never plugged lies in the faces, the balls deflect down to the bottom.   We DO see a few bottoms getting "dense" as you say, but by power raking a few times a week, it is solved.   So now we just power rake the bottoms and leave the sides "crusty".   It all seems to work.....


Rick, what is the locale of your club (asking for climate understanding)?  Basically, how big can a rainfall event get, and how warm are the summers? 


I've been increasingly intrigued by sod liners (since I remain skeptical of the sprayed aggregate methods), and I'm curious to know how well they would do in warmer and wetter climates.  They seem to do well in the Pac Northwest and Canada, but what about hot, humid, and stormy regions?  Seems like washouts could be more frequent with higher rainfall rates, and deterioration of the sod would be faster due to heat and wetness increasing microbe activity and such. 


Interested to hear any thoughts from others as well.
Title: Re: Better Billy Bunker Method
Post by: Rick Lane on November 16, 2017, 03:21:10 PM
Southern CT.   Summers can be 80's a lot, 90's on and off in July/Aug, rarely 100, maybe a few days.

It can really rain (well, not like rain in Seattle), sometimes an inch or two in a 24 hour burst.   Or heavy T storms, 1/2 inch real fast.    Very rare now to have washouts....
Title: Re: Better Billy Bunker Method
Post by: Steve Lang on November 16, 2017, 06:21:33 PM
The WCC's 27 hole Palmer course put them in this last year and they are great... and now putting them in on Tournament and Player courses.  Were in play a week after Harvey's 27 inches of rainfall!
Title: Re: Better Billy Bunker Method
Post by: Forrest Richardson on November 18, 2017, 01:45:32 PM
Now in my fifth year using the BBB method. Not everywhere, but I would say 90%.

For me, I cite four very important reasons BBB works and has a good ROI:

1 ... It separates the native soils from the sand 100%, which in Arizona, California and many Western states and areas is essential to prevent rocks and blending of the two distinct ingredients; where an un-lined bunker or a bunker with a soft liner may have to be re-worked in 6-7 years ó except for replacing sand, a BBB bunker will probably last 20+ with the ONLY maintenance being sand replacement

2 ... With a hard liner you never have to guess at sand depth; we have inherited bunkers with 4-5 feet of sand depth because the club just kept, over the years, adding and adding sand; with BBB there is NO guesswork as you have with soft liners (fabric) or no liners, you simply probe the bunkers and buy as much new sand as you need ó no more

3 ... The bunker shape is also set in stone (pun) ó migration of bunker edges with BBB has to be purposefully changed as opposed to changed at the hands of staff

4 ... Drainage is virtually fool-proof because the porous polymer/stone layer serves to move water both laterally AND vertically toward the low/drain point(s) of each bunker ó if anything, we are getting "The bunkers are too dry..." comments, which I find ironic


Most important is to realize that BBB, in most areas where gravel aggregate is readily available, will not exceed the cost of other liner types. While I have used other liners (fabrics and sprays) I am pretty much of the opinion that when a liner is called for, this is the best method...I know how long rock lasts, and I trust the polymer because similar polymers are used in other architectural industries.

When do we NOT use any liner? When there are virtually NO rocks in the native soils and we are confident that the native soils will stay put and not heave or become expansive below the sand. Del Rio CC in Modesto CA is one such place. The site is mostly fine sandy soil, and it is stable. The sand used in the bunkers has proven stable with very few issues in forming a soupy mix with the sand and soils "becoming one" after time.


P.S.  I am not sure TD's comment is crass...maybe just a bit  ;) snarky. What I take exception with is the notion that it lines the pockets (pun) of builders. Contractors likely make more money preparing subgrades of UNlined bunkers (all labor) as opposed to simple finishing the floors and spreading products that they have to procure. A mark-up per s.f. is not as rewarding as labor per s.f.




Title: Re: Better Billy Bunker Method
Post by: Jack Carney on November 18, 2017, 02:57:00 PM
Eighteen months ago we redid all the bunkers at Cedar Ridge with the BBB. Not only did they allow for improved design with exposed faces but saved us $65M in 2017 maintenance. They will pay for themselves (complete cost) in a just 7 or 8 years.


In my opinion Tom is never crass, just a free thinker
Title: Re: Better Billy Bunker Method
Post by: Forrest Richardson on November 18, 2017, 03:33:18 PM
"Free thinker" is a nice way to soften one's crassness. Or snarkyness.
Title: Re: Better Billy Bunker Method
Post by: Mike_Young on November 18, 2017, 05:12:03 PM
Hmmmm....and perhaps TD was "dead on" for most courses.  I go back the Ping Anser putter.  Did Scotty Cameron make the Anser putter any better by running thru a CNC machine and giving it a milled face?  Nope.  Did not help the game of golf one bit but it did create a market for $350.00 putters and putter covers where there never used to be.  When close to half the shots in a round are used on the green then it is fine to put forward the best greens one can but when less than 5% of the shots in a round are from sand and we spend close to as much on bunkers as we do greens then something is wrong...ok for the few but not for most....IMHO...
Title: Re: Better Billy Bunker Method
Post by: Terry Lavin on November 18, 2017, 10:07:59 PM
Well, after due deliberation, I hope my club doesnít make the investment in BBB. It just costs too much money and my club has always been frugal. I hope we go back to the tan sand which better suits a classic course. And at half the price, I think.
Title: Re: Better Billy Bunker Method
Post by: Forrest Richardson on November 18, 2017, 10:54:34 PM
Terry - What makes you think it costs a lot of money? The ROI, depending on your soils and how often you want to re-build bunkers, can make it a very worthwhile investment. The BBB method does not cost (usually) more than any other type of liner system. In some locales, less. This is why clubs need professional advice. Have you read this thread ... or just bits of it??? This is, after all, your topic dude  ???
Title: Re: Better Billy Bunker Method
Post by: Forrest Richardson on November 18, 2017, 11:02:47 PM
I missed young Brett's post where he notes he is "....skeptical of the sprayed aggregate methods." Why Brett? What makes you skeptical of a polymer sprayed on crushed aggregate? Are you concerned the rock will break down...let's say, in 2 or 3 million years? Or, that the polymer ó likely similar to the stuff Outback Steakhouse uses to seal their wooden tables ó will somehow fade away beneath the sand?
Title: Re: Better Billy Bunker Method
Post by: Greg Chambers on November 18, 2017, 11:39:11 PM
Forrest...you sound like youíre slinging the product.
Title: Re: Better Billy Bunker Method
Post by: Terry Lavin on November 19, 2017, 08:35:10 AM
I know there arenít a lot of cash cows out there in the golf business, but this one seems to be doing well. They started with the Billy Bunker then the Better Billy Bunker. I suppose in a few years itíll be the Best. This talk about ROI (which sounds like the gca version of trickle down economics 😅) is above my pay grade but the BBB just seems too expensive to me.
Title: Re: Better Billy Bunker Method
Post by: Forrest Richardson on November 19, 2017, 10:39:02 AM
Greg ó No slinging, but I do believe it has a place for many sites, especially those, as noted, where we have rock in the native soils that cannot be prevented from migrating upward...without a HARD liner that will not give way. I'm in my 32nd year as a golf course architect, and have seen a lot of bunker renovation work...including having to re-do my own work! I suppose to be fair, if you think "recommending" when the application for BBB is right amounts to slinging, then I suppose. But truthfully, all GCAs recommend, whether it be turf, soil plating, native grass selection, sand types, etc.  Everything we import to a golf site (and even the stuff we shift around) comes with a cost. And all this comes with a sales force behind it, whether it be the guy who sells sand, the woman who markets native seed, or the huge corporation who provides irrigation components.
Title: Re: Better Billy Bunker Method
Post by: Pete_Pittock on November 19, 2017, 06:40:06 PM
Our 20 year old Fought course (The Reserve Vineyards-South) had the bunkers redone with BBB.  1.5 million. But the number of bunkers was cut nearly in half (114/59) and cut the square footage in half from 200,000 to 100,000. Maintenance costs will be way down and probably will pay for themselves in time.  Played there today for the first time in over a month, and the bunkers were in great condition with no washouts after a week's worth of rain. Can't say the same for the North course. Now if I can just make them less fluffy.
Title: Re: Better Billy Bunker Method
Post by: Brett Hochstein on November 20, 2017, 03:28:20 PM
I missed young Brett's post where he notes he is "....skeptical of the sprayed aggregate methods." Why Brett? What makes you skeptical of a polymer sprayed on crushed aggregate? Are you concerned the rock will break down...let's say, in 2 or 3 million years? Or, that the polymer ó likely similar to the stuff Outback Steakhouse uses to seal their wooden tables ó will somehow fade away beneath the sand?


I guess I'm skeptical for a few reasons. How long it will actually work, what you do when it doesn't, being so bound to the end product, etc.


What is currently the oldest BBB out there, what climate is it in, and is it showing signs of wear?  How long can you go just respraying and fixing the cracks until they become irreparable?  When these things break down and it is time to replace or change the bunkers, what do you do with the material waste if there is no place on site for a bury pit?  Rent a bunch of dumpsters with daily pickups?  Is there any potentially negative environmental issue with the polymers?


Even though I want stuff that I build to be well-preserved, I still feel a little uneasy about being so "locked in" to a shape or edge line. What if there is an opportunity/need to expand or alter a bunker, such as what was recently decided to do on the 6th hole at Santa Ana following additional tree removal?  In that case, we didn't need to change the original floor too much to make it work, but if we did, which is common, it would have been a much more serious undertaking to make these adjustments with a BBB type system. 


Regarding shaping, you have to make your edges an additional 6-10 inches deep to account for the aggregate and minimal required sand coverage of at least 4 inches (I usually like to taper to ~2 inches sand coverage at the edge on flashed faces).  That extra depth makes it a bit harder to get your final shown edge depth right, especially if you like to vary the thickness of the lip, which I think gives a nice natural look. 


Maybe I'm just a traditionalist, but stuff like this just sort of feels like another level of departure from the earliest versions of golf and greenkeeping.  It's extra industrialization of golf, which I'm not really all for despite technically working in the golf "industry."


I'm really not trying to bash the product (my questions above are genuinely inquisitive), and I think is has great utility in certain situations.  It really is good to have an option like this available, because some courses and situations could really use it.  It just also seems like it might be excessive in many other cases. 
Title: Re: Better Billy Bunker Method
Post by: Steve Lang on November 20, 2017, 07:24:38 PM
Do you use plastic pipe with holes or slots for drain tile or still clay tile?


Do you use geo-textiles wrapped around your drain pipes?...

[/size]or graded porous/permeable materials in your bunker channels or just lay things on in the dirt and top with sand?[size=78%]


The BBB's use of Dow ST-410 acrylic emulsion offers such an easy spray application and then is essentially inert to water and will be un-phased by UV light once it drys and sets in 24 hours, very practical approach just essentially glueing the pea gravel together where it touches, allowing smaller than sand grade sized pores to allow good permeability, and the polymer should easily last for decades... unless you're driving trucks through the bunkers


... and it'd be non-hazardous waste if you ever removed it, likely no bigger deal than when old sand was removed..
Title: Re: Better Billy Bunker Method
Post by: Terry Lavin on November 20, 2017, 08:57:04 PM
Might I just add that sprayed polymer liners (if thatís the right term) strikes me as synthetic, non-natural and antithetical to classic golf course design. Not saying it isnít effective. Wonít argue the ROI because Iím incapable. But these bunker fixes get more and more artificial.


And the golf course?  Oh, yeah, itís still a natural inhabitant of the native landforms.


Iím not an originalist in matters of gca, but this BBB just seems too unnatural, too contrary and too darned expensive. I vote no.
Title: Re: Better Billy Bunker Method
Post by: Steve Lang on November 20, 2017, 09:37:03 PM
Terry,


Do you seriously object to something you can't see under the bunker sand?  Do you really want to muck about in a trap for that natural experience or drive a horse buggy?


I have one word for you... 
https://youtu.be/PSxihhBzCjk

Title: Re: Better Billy Bunker Method
Post by: Tom_Doak on November 21, 2017, 07:58:09 AM
Well, after listening to our contractor at Bel Air ruminate about all the steps involved in installing capillary concrete under the bunkers*, I will go back to the thought that contractors love all these fancy liners because it reduces the bidding down to a few contractors who are familiar with installing it.  At $6.00 to $7.00 per square foot, there is the potential to make some money there, too.


As to the impact on actual golf course architecture, the only benefit I can see is that these liners will tend to reduce the square footage of bunkers built by this method, because of the cost [as Pete Pittock noted].  [EDIT:  Or, perhaps, so you can build bunkers with unsustainably steep slopes and not get called out for malpractice afterward because they don't wash out.]  You could also just not design that many bunkers to begin with ... for example, George Thomas only built 42 bunkers at Bel Air, not the 70-something it had evolved to.



* I let the superintendent and green committee spec the bunker liners, because I'm clearly biased against them, especially in places it only rains ten inches per year.


P.S.  The definition of "crass" implies that I am not only stupid, but that my clumsiness hurt someone's feelings.  I'd ask you all to consider whether this discussion is really about anyone's feelings, or about cost and benefit; and if it's the latter, what would be the true purpose of questioning MY motives.
Title: Re: Better Billy Bunker Method
Post by: Mike_Young on November 21, 2017, 09:00:45 AM
I'm sure the various bunker lining methods have been proven to do as they say.  My problem is similar to what TD says above.  Where do we stop when it comes to bunkers.  If you adhere that the primary invesotr in golf is the individual courses and everyone else is a secondary investor then golf is not being done any favors when we promote and spend on bunkers the same percentage of a maintenance budget we spend on greens.  Maybe 5% of the courses out there can justify liner expense but for most course selling green fees it is not an option.  We have lost our way with the amount we spend on bunkers.  And it's rewarding a negative.  The goal is to get it in the hole which is located on the green.  Landing in a bunker is a mistake and if the someone tells me they land in the bunker on purpose because that is the better option well then point proven. 
The industry machine will insinuate if you don't promote such liners etc that you are behind the times or cutting corners.  I call BS. 
Title: Re: Better Billy Bunker Method
Post by: Jeff_Brauer on November 21, 2017, 11:39:25 AM

Mike,


I disagree with your math.  If the primary investors are course owners, and they see that a $300K project, at about $22-25K of debt per year for 15 years (approximate life of bunker liner, for comparison) saves them $30K or more per year in maintenance, and perhaps adds similar revenues by making the course more attractive to customers, and thus stealing some revenue from somewhere (or creating it out of nowhere) then it is a good long term investment for them, and correctly aimed at what you call the primary investors.


As to where bunkers go from here, I can't tell you, no one can, as the creativity and demands of the free market will set that. While I tend to emotionally agree with you, look at other fields.  There have always been folks who believe "everything that can be invented has been invented" which has historically proven to be a mistake.


Take transportation, there were probably those who fought railroads, believing horses (or canal boats) were good enough, then those who fought cars and planes because railroads were good enough, then those who fought jets because prop planes were good enough, etc.  All those people fighting new products/technology also had a vested interest in stopping progress, too!  (In golf, starting with Robertson and Old Tom.)


The bunker liner suppliers are certainly not villains in that scenario as you seem to imply.  The products evolve (just got a sample delivered to my door of yet another new bunker liner claiming to be better and cheaper...time will tell) today.  Had another last week that looked promising.


But I do agree with your first sentence, the current bunker liners do seem to have proven to do approximately what they say they do, with the only question being life span.


And I agree with TD that the best benefit is reducing the number of golf course bunkers, but then again, that is just my taste anyway.  I doubt I ever designed as visually spectacular course as say, Mike Strantz, believing it was just too much sand, although I did find his courses exciting.  And, that belief may have limited some of the commissions I was offered, too.


My "plug in" number for cost estimates has gone from 100-125K SF to 50-85K SF, and I am sure I am not alone.  As I do bunker reductions on my own courses, I find I can eliminate 10-15% of the bunkers I designed decades ago, and see little or no visual difference or play quality.  (Think I opined on that in another thread if anyone cares to look)


As to the limited bidding, I also agree with TD, but believe this is only temporary.  All it takes is one of the new competitors in the bunker lining field to offer a supervisor and no license fees to any contractor or club wishing to use their product, and then others will fall in line, and together with more competition, prices will fall.  I think they have already as bunker liners become more of a commodity.

Title: Re: Better Billy Bunker Method
Post by: Mike_Young on November 21, 2017, 02:59:10 PM

Mike,


I disagree with your math.  If the primary investors are course owners, and they see that a $300K project, at about $22-25K of debt per year for 15 years (approximate life of bunker liner, for comparison) saves them $30K or more per year in maintenance, and perhaps adds similar revenues by making the course more attractive to customers, and thus stealing some revenue from somewhere (or creating it out of nowhere) then it is a good long term investment for them, and correctly aimed at what you call the primary investors.


As to where bunkers go from here, I can't tell you, no one can, as the creativity and demands of the free market will set that. While I tend to emotionally agree with you, look at other fields.  There have always been folks who believe "everything that can be invented has been invented" which has historically proven to be a mistake.


Take transportation, there were probably those who fought railroads, believing horses (or canal boats) were good enough, then those who fought cars and planes because railroads were good enough, then those who fought jets because prop planes were good enough, etc.  All those people fighting new products/technology also had a vested interest in stopping progress, too!  (In golf, starting with Robertson and Old Tom.)


The bunker liner suppliers are certainly not villains in that scenario as you seem to imply.  The products evolve (just got a sample delivered to my door of yet another new bunker liner claiming to be better and cheaper...time will tell) today.  Had another last week that looked promising.


But I do agree with your first sentence, the current bunker liners do seem to have proven to do approximately what they say they do, with the only question being life span.


And I agree with TD that the best benefit is reducing the number of golf course bunkers, but then again, that is just my taste anyway.  I doubt I ever designed as visually spectacular course as say, Mike Strantz, believing it was just too much sand, although I did find his courses exciting.  And, that belief may have limited some of the commissions I was offered, too.


My "plug in" number for cost estimates has gone from 100-125K SF to 50-85K SF, and I am sure I am not alone.  As I do bunker reductions on my own courses, I find I can eliminate 10-15% of the bunkers I designed decades ago, and see little or no visual difference or play quality.  (Think I opined on that in another thread if anyone cares to look)


As to the limited bidding, I also agree with TD, but believe this is only temporary.  All it takes is one of the new competitors in the bunker lining field to offer a supervisor and no license fees to any contractor or club wishing to use their product, and then others will fall in line, and together with more competition, prices will fall.  I think they have already as bunker liners become more of a commodity.

Jeff,

No where above did I villainize any of the liner methods.  And no where did I ay I was against progress in golf etc.  Just the opposite....I see us having to try and figure how to allow the game to progress.  Most of the courses in the US are not going to borrow $300,000 to rework bunkers based on a futre bet.  They either will not rake them as much, or will eliminate some.  I'm aware of how to build the top of the line if a place calls for it but if it doesn't, it is not progress for me to do such when it has no chance of making it.  I just see myself being a realist here when it comes to most of the courses in the US. 
Title: Re: Better Billy Bunker Method
Post by: Jeff_Brauer on November 21, 2017, 03:46:13 PM

Mike,


Agree golf has always been a tough biz, except for the period pre 2006 recession when nearly every one of us was a frickin genius, it seemed. Mostly what I was trying to say is I think what we are witnessing IS the continuing progress of golf trying to figure it out, not the industry going the wrong direction for the wrong reasons, which you seem to imply with statements like "The industry machine will insinuate if you don't promote such liners etc that you are behind the times or cutting corners.  I call BS." 


You often call "BS" on the entire industry.   The current period, including the bunker liner industry might be two steps forward, one step back, but you seem to imply its mostly a backwards progress.

Renovation costs do squeeze courses.  Like hotels and restaurants, who are all upgrading to improve their image, golf courses are needing to do it too.  Customers are tough to please, and golfers are no exception.


The free market is pushing the upgrades. Its just a lot of stuff that happens.  You seem to imply courses must plan upgrades on the cost side only, and that is only half the equation.  I think the investment makes sense for many owners in it for the long term (whether they want to be or not......)  Of course, every situation is different, which makes either one of our generalized statements hard to be accurate.
Title: Re: Better Billy Bunker Method
Post by: Mike_Young on November 21, 2017, 04:05:24 PM

Mike,


 "The industry machine will insinuate if you don't promote such liners etc that you are behind the times or cutting corners.  I call BS." 
You often call "BS" on the entire industry.   
I just try to identify the BS in the industry... ;D

The current period, including the bunker liner industry might be two steps forward, one step back, but you seem to imply its mostly a backwards progress. 
I never said that.  I said liners are for the 5%...  For example...I love the Tesla but am not sure it is moving the auto industry forward or that it is for everyone...


My position regarding US golf is: that it is now, and always has been a mom and pop business.  When an industry is allowed to get into a position whereby most of the decision makers (PGA pros and GCSAA supts) are making the decisions because the owners don't know, then a problem will develop. 

Happy Thanksgiving.... :)
Title: Re: Better Billy Bunker Method
Post by: Jeff_Brauer on November 21, 2017, 04:21:15 PM


Mike,


Well, maybe its my client base, which traditionally been largely management companies, but I see the golf biz having been transitioned away  from Mom and Pops, for at least 30 years.  And I see the decision makers being above the PGA pros and GCSAA supers, although they do value their in the field input.


And, I agree with you, its the Mom and Pops that struggle, and statistically, the Mom and Pops that have trouble keeping up with necessary rejuvenation investments.  No doubt in my mind that while there are certain counter trends, ownership is going to go to bigger and better funded, including management companies and cities who can absorb losses that a one course operator cannot (i.e, a national management can survive Hurricane Harvey whereas a single course owner in Houston is probably just out of business) 


And, those private owners may not even be golf management companies as much any more, but bigger hospitality businesses like hotels, time shares, real estate developers, etc.


So, short version, I don't agree that liners aren't for everyone.  If good bunkers are a good business idea, its a good idea for many, maybe most or nearly all, but being poor sucks, whether person, small business, or individually owned golf course.


Hope you enjoy your Thanksgiving and Holiday Season as well.
Title: Re: Better Billy Bunker Method
Post by: Mike_Young on November 21, 2017, 04:37:03 PM


Mike,


Well, maybe its my client base, which traditionally been largely management companies, but I see the golf biz having been transitioned away  from Mom and Pops, for at least 30 years.  And I see the decision makers being above the PGA pros and GCSAA supers, although they do value their in the field input.


And, I agree with you, its the Mom and Pops that struggle, and statistically, the Mom and Pops that have trouble keeping up with necessary rejuvenation investments.  No doubt in my mind that while there are certain counter trends, ownership is going to go to bigger and better funded, including management companies and cities who can absorb losses that a one course operator cannot (i.e, a national management can survive Hurricane Harvey whereas a single course owner in Houston is probably just out of business) 


And, those private owners may not even be golf management companies as much any more, but bigger hospitality businesses like hotels, time shares, real estate developers, etc.


So, short version, I don't agree that liners aren't for everyone.  If good bunkers are a good business idea, its a good idea for many, maybe most or nearly all, but being poor sucks, whether person, small business, or individually owned golf course.


Hope you enjoy your Thanksgiving and Holiday Season as well.

Gee we see it so differently.  Are you saying a bunker is no good if it doesn't have a liner?

 I think there are many mom and pops who do well but have no reason to shout it.  As golf become healthier for the moms and pops the management company courses will decrease because people don't need them when things are going well.  I am tickled every time the magazine comes out and list the most important people in golf as the management company guys. 

I wish he would just say these are the guys that can fund my conference and my magazine instead. 

You got to stop and remember there are 12,000 of these mom and pops out there.  You only hear about the few that close and a few that bitch about not making it but overall they can do fine.  They  just can't be an investor and they have to be active.  More golf cars, turf equipment and fertilizer is sold to these than the other upper privates and a few munis.  It's the constant construction and design changes that these guys don't necessarily become involved with.  I can show you plenty that think just like this... Mom and pops are here to stay...
Title: Re: Better Billy Bunker Method
Post by: Jeff_Brauer on November 21, 2017, 04:55:48 PM

Are you saying a bunker is no good if it doesn't have a liner?

Well, not really, there are no absolutes and its case specific. 

As I mentioned last month I have asked a few Midwest supers what bunker liners saved them in the first few years and the numbers were off the charts, like $80,000.  On the other hand, we didn't use them at La Costa because of low rainfall and not much rock in the soil. 


At some point, there is a cross over, when rain fall, slope, sub soils, sand angularity, etc. means that a bunker will not be in as good shape as customers can experience down the street, for unacceptable percentages of time to affect revenues as well as expenses, and it comes together to make bunker liners the best option for that course.


I will have to research your 12K of 15K US courses being Mom and Pop types.  Seems high to me.  But, I agree there are many, out in the country, etc., and the case could be made that these courses are really representative of "Golf in America" to a larger degree than the 200 or so courses we discuss here regularly.  Many of those have been the ones to close, mostly due to location, but many survive offering a low cost, largely unfinished presentation to their customers who just happen to like it that way.


Probably more accurately, the best performing courses are those that match the price and quality to the tastes of golfers within their 20 mile prime radius.  BTW, it seems to me many, if not most courses, really don't have accurate data to really even report total rounds, average revenue per round, etc., and could probably benefit from more sophistication in that department as well.


Cheers.


Title: Re: Better Billy Bunker Method
Post by: Tom_Doak on November 21, 2017, 05:15:33 PM
I was looking at this today from the perspective of one of my older courses, Quail Crossing.  It's recently been bought by the town of Boonville, and the management company that owned it has left it in horrible condition:  greens shrunk to 70% of original size, an irrigation system with many faults, and zero sand in any of the 42 bunkers we built.  We are trying to give them some decent numbers for getting it back into decent shape [gratis, of course], and it looks like it will take more than $1m in repairs of deferred maintenance to get there.


Lining the bunkers would cost maybe $100k on top of everything else.  I can't see them wanting to go into debt to pay for that.  If you were a taxpayer in the town of Boonville, would you want them to?


The number that's been thrown around for annual maintenance savings due to liners is $30,000 per year.  Let's say that with generous benefits, the laborers are making $20/hr.  That's 1500 man-hours of repairing washouts.  That seems high to me.  I hope that whoever is checking these numbers isn't the same guy who did the pro forma on the course in the beginning, before it got sold for 15 cents on the dollar?
Title: Re: Better Billy Bunker Method
Post by: Jeff_Brauer on November 21, 2017, 06:00:53 PM

Tom,


I agree it seems high, but as per above, some supers estimate even higher, perhaps out of self interest.  I had pegged it at about $15,000 per year, but rainfall varies and the shoveling could be five days one year and 50 the next.


I recently had a similar experience on a 20 year old course of mine.  Start with the $1.25-$1.5M irrigation system, reduce and upgrade bunkers that had no sand, at maybe $360K, level some tees, add some forward tees, fix a few rickety bridges and broken cart paths.  The total came out over $2M just to stay in business, which is a hard pill to swallow, especially since it was built by a company that promised no city funds would ever be needed, etc., and the council knows the voters remember that well.


Still, the city owned a course (and leased it) for 20 years, and put no money in it, and now needs to spend that $2M, mostly because it didn't (and couldn't because it wasn't meeting pro forma expectations) enforce their minimum annual investment clause, and now they have it back.  By industry standards, they would have been investing 3-4% of course construction cost every year for capital improvements, and at today's new course construction cost of maybe $7M, that would be $200,000 annually, or $4M total.  In essence they are playing catch up, like most courses with deferred maintenance.


I feel badly for them, but no one cares about feelings, right?  Eventually, all courses need to invest something, and the question is  whether that $100K extra (which should cost them only $8-10 K per year depending on their bond rating) pay off in maintenance savings (which would be at least $8K in maintenance savings by nearly anyone who estimates these things)  and, given how golfers feel about nice sand in the bunkers, at $40 per round, will they get just 200 more rounds due to better maintenance?


If they take the long view, they may very well want to invest in bunker liners, but then, its there call.  It is usually short term thinking that leads to deferred maintenance anyway, and management companies have certainly left more than a few cities in similar binds.
Title: Re: Better Billy Bunker Method
Post by: Don Mahaffey on November 21, 2017, 07:23:47 PM
My company has installed a bunch of Cap Concrete. No one, and I mean no one, in the building construction business would ever pay the $$$ per yard of mud that Cap Concrete charges. That's why they sell it by the sq ft. No one has to tell me how much I'm cutting my own throat by posting this sort of thing here, but I didn't like the work and if that is how I have to make my living I'll do something else. Cap Concrete, BBB, Bunker solutions, are all insanely expensive because many decision makers in golf are just plain ...(fill in adjective...) and are willing to foot the bill. Its just accepted in golf. And all those savings numbers, those come right from the guys selling the stuff. Show me courses that are actually reducing staff members and equipment and I'll listen. If the budgets remain close to the same and the staff members are just doing something different...how exactly is that savings?  Its just another thing that you would never pay for if it was for your own house or business and coming out of your pocket. And no supt or board member is ever going to come forward and say anything bad about a process they were involved in selling.

I was contacted last week by a golf management firm that asked me if I'd consult to help them reduce their operational costs. I told them I only worked on start ups any more because whenever I came in and addressed operating courses, staff just got defensive and justified why they needed to keep doing what they were doing.The VP of the company wanted me to come in, but the guy in charge of the golf operations wasn't warm to the idea and no way I needed that headache.  I don't claim there to be magic bullets, but just simple practical sense is usually all that's needed. But when you have associations that are only about finding sponsorship dollars to stay alive, then the sponsors become king.  In golf the guys selling the stuff rule the roost.
Title: Re: Better Billy Bunker Method
Post by: Peter Pallotta on November 21, 2017, 07:54:16 PM
I've been reading along on this thread just to learn something new, but it wasn't until a line in Don's post that the basic choice became clear (at least from my own limited perspective):

The choice is between a person and a piece of plastic (polymer).
 
If a golf course has a full time maintenance crew of 5 guys being paid for 40 weeks a year, those 5 guys will either be doing one thing, or they'll be doing something else -- e.g. if they have to fix some washed-out bunkers, then they'll leave cleaning out the maintenance shed or clearing out some dead wood for another time, and vice-versa.   

So the only way the BBB actually saves the owner money is if he says: "Since we now won't *ever* be spending time fixing bunkers, we can get by with 4 maintenance guys instead of 5"...and fires someone.

Paying for the plastic over 10 years costs the same as providing a person with a job for those 10 years.

Isn't it nicer and better for everyone involved to preference the person over the plastic?     

Title: Re: Better Billy Bunker Method
Post by: Steve Lang on November 21, 2017, 10:26:03 PM
Peter,


I guess the other thing that begs interest, related to Terry Lavin's first interest in the BBB, is the appropriateness of the application, after all, it appears that at Beverly the mixing of native soils and the pretty white non-native sand used in their bunkers was mixing after 7 years... leading to a need for rehab.


Looking at the Cook County Soils Survey it appears that "glacial till of unsorted ice-deposited sediment composed of a matrix of silt, clay, and sand in which pebbles, cobbles, and boulders are embedded" is present in the Beverly area and making up the lake plain and moraines geology there. 


Looking at the NOAA rainfall data for the area, it appears that 1 hour events, on 1, 10, and 100 year frequencies, accumulate 1.2, 2.1, & 3.1 inches of water respectively.  For 24 hour events, on 1, 10 & 100 year frequency, the values are 2.4, 4.4, and 7.2 inches of water.


So it appears in Chicago area, and at least at Beverly, the soils and rainfall are enough to cause them to replace everything once every 7 years or so... its that maintenance/replacement cost and maybe loss of playing time during the work that potentially would also be saved perhaps for 20-30 years, say 3-4 cycles of sand replacement, and also saving $ that could perhaps keep someone employed there too.     
 
I'd judge that cost savings as not insignificant...
Title: Re: Better Billy Bunker Method
Post by: Alan FitzGerald on November 22, 2017, 09:06:54 AM
Full disclosure before I add to this; I import Blinder (a BBB competitor) from the UK so intimately know all these products, their positives, negatives etc. I'm still a superintendent so see what goes on from that side of the business also.

I've seen and heard the numbers thrown around about how liners will save money. They will, but as mentioned above, the savings are usually indirect (ie the labor used elsewhere). I've seen some outrageous savings that I have a hard time calculating- although the main driver of both will depend on the amount of rainfall a property sees coupled with the bunker design. The bigger saving is when the bunker lasts longer over a non lined bunker with the replacement cost being further away. The secondary benefit is player content ie the bunkers are back in play quicker after a storm - which can be important for a public course.

Saying that the main reason for a liner is to protect the investment of a bunker renovation. I grew-in and still am the super at the last private course to open in PA. At the time the only liners available were the fabrics and Sportcrete, which was just coming on the market. It was a similar concept to BBB, ultimately failing miserably and leading to Blinder, Capcon and Matrix, as the supers who created those products looked to find a better product. I had prior experience with the fabrics and was wary of Sportcrete so the decision was made to save the money on the liners and see what the future brought.

As soon as the first storm passed the bunkers were contaminated. The maintenance staff removed the silt, replaced sand as needed etc but still they were no longer pure. Since then, each storm has contaminated them a little more and even with maintenance to offset the contamination within 5-6 years the complaints started. So here is a new club where members expected perfect conditions (as they should since it's new) and yet they never played from good bunkers. Add in the stones that have worked up from the subsoil, the floors that have washed out and are no longer properly shaped, the bunkers need redoing.

At the time there were no viable long term options to line bunkers - now there are multiple of varying qualities and cost. If these were available 10 years ago the club would not be in this position right now - the sand -while maybe not 100% as bright as it was -would still be clean, there would be no stones and most of all they would still be in good playable shape.

So there is a real world example of why liners are needed. If there is a product available that protects a large investment (admittedly by making that investment larger) then why wouldn't it be at the very least considered? If the club here were to do a sand replacement project it would cost ~$200,000 in sand alone (assuming the same amount of sand remained). On top of that there is the cost to add that sand. While this is far from the full renovation required there would also have to be some work done on the floors drainage etc which will increase that number. So even conservatively you're looking at adding another $100,000 on something that will start to deteriorate as soon as the first major rainfall. So is the extra cost of a liner worth guaranteeing that won't happen, the investment lasts longer and the only deterioration is the natural dirtying of the sand?

Is it only the big clubs that are willing to spend the cost? What Blinder in the UK are seeing is a lot of smaller clubs buy in as they see the long term investment, even if it takes them a number of years to do all the bunkers rather than doing them all at once like the big clubs.

I get that liners are not "natural"  but neither are sand bunkers in the red clay soils of Pennsylvania...... Design plays a lot into it. Bunkers can be designed where you don't need a liner, sod liners can work in some instances but now when the location, design or soil type of a bunker will result in it having issues there are now options to make it last. 

I hesitated posting to this thread as it could be argued I have a vested interest as I'm selling a liner and I am a super. However if a club is committing money to make itself better then why not guarantee it will last? I'd like to hear why someone thinks that would not be a good thing.
Title: Re: Better Billy Bunker Method
Post by: Jeff_Brauer on November 22, 2017, 09:51:01 AM


If a golf course has a full time maintenance crew of 5 guys being paid for 40 weeks a year, those 5 guys will either be doing one thing, or they'll be doing something else -- e.g. if they have to fix some washed-out bunkers, then they'll leave cleaning out the maintenance shed or clearing out some dead wood for another time, and vice-versa.   

So the only way the BBB actually saves the owner money is if he says: "Since we now won't *ever* be spending time fixing bunkers, we can get by with 4 maintenance guys instead of 5"...and fires someone.



Peter,


The problem isn't the average time spent shoveling sand in bunkers, its the unscheduled nature of it.  The supers I talk to, who have a crew of under 10, say that in every rain, they send two guys out to mow greens, and the rest shovel sand for a few days, leaving other maintenance tasks, like tee, green, fairway and rough mowing, go for the days required to get the bunkers back to playable conditions. That's a little more serious problem for supers than not sweeping out the barn or giving the golf course dog a bath.


If that happens often enough, customers go somewhere else, other problems arise, etc.)  It's hard to budget for unscheduled efforts that take the entire crew.
Title: Re: Better Billy Bunker Method
Post by: Peter Pallotta on November 22, 2017, 10:09:51 AM
Thanks, Jeff.
Another example of our own experiences influencing our thoughts. My experience is that the bunkers at our modest 40+ year old local course handle the occasional and intense thunderstorm very well. I don't know what the maintenance guys must have to do, but when I arrive later that day or the next, the only ''problem' I see is that the lowest parts of the bunker are damp and hard-packed.
Alan, thanks for a fine post.
Peter 
Title: Re: Better Billy Bunker Method
Post by: Mike_Young on November 22, 2017, 10:19:48 AM
Alan,
I see no problem with you posting what you did.  I'm not saying certain liners are bad or that they are villans for selling them.  Jerry Lemmons who sells the BBB is a good guy.  I don't know all of the other guys.

I'm just saying two things.
1-  the way so many of the mom and pops ,who make up the majority of the golf course in this country, operate they would not pay for this product.  And many of the cost mentioned would be less for them because most don't buy the special bunker sands and just use some local sand at less than $10 bucks per yard and they rake once or twice a week...  The bunker can be contaminated but clean and raked and the guy paying $40 bucks is fine.  What matters is having the best greens one can have.  If the economy ever got to where these places could charge $60 bucks then bunkers might be addressed.

2- I don't like the way it is often portrayed here that one is not giving a professional opinion or that one is cutting corners or that one is wrong to not push for the latest and greatest at every project.  Trust me..I am confident I can build as efficient and as expensive a course as the next guy and can hype that up.  So I don't need anyone going pompous ass on me for not pushing liners on many courses. 
Title: Re: Better Billy Bunker Method
Post by: Connor Dougherty on November 23, 2017, 08:35:44 AM
P.S.  The definition of "crass" implies that I am not only stupid, but that my clumsiness hurt someone's feelings.  I'd ask you all to consider whether this discussion is really about anyone's feelings, or about cost and benefit; and if it's the latter, what would be the true purpose of questioning MY motives.


I was talking to John Moore and my roommate at dinner a few weeks ago about our interaction on this thread, and they informed me how frowned upon it is to call someone "crass." Knowing what it means now (or at least how most people interpret it), it's not the word I would have used nor was I trying to imply that I was saying that you were stupid or that the clumsiness hurt my feelings. If you were offended by the comment I am truly sorry.


What I was trying to say was that your original comment didn't really add or detract from the argument for or against using Better Billy Bunker. It simply stated that contractors use it as a way to drum up more business. Sure, there are golf courses now doing bunker renovations in large part because they have superintendents who want the BBB installed, even if it doesn't really make that much sense for its locale (see-Bel Air, or certainly many of the sites you have worked on given the soil conditions). There's no universal solution for anything when it comes to construction methods and maintenance, that's part of what I like about this job. It challenges you to think out of the box at times.


I'm more intrigued by the logic that clubs take the savings from bunker maintenance and apply it elsewhere, ultimately making the maintenance budget bigger...That should be the end goal of their installation, but how often is that actually the case?
Title: Re: Better Billy Bunker Method
Post by: Jeff_Brauer on November 23, 2017, 09:12:54 AM

Conner,


First, Stars fan here, and gotta love another hockey fan......


Second, I can't recall a budget going down after installation of better billy bunker, or USGA greens, or whatever.  It stays the same, or goes up, but maybe "not as much as it would have" or "less than inflation this year" which is hard to measure.


Thinking that the budget goes down when a specific items should go down, in this case, as a result of BBB, presumes the superintendent had every little hearts desire accounted for in his/her budget in the first place.  Such is not usually the case.  They have to make hard choices about what to do or not do, but labor savings from BBB should allow them to check off a few more boxes outside basic maintenance.  Again, hard to measure but hopefully, golfers notice the uptick in maintenance levels both within and outside the sand bunkers.


Sort of OT, but we once had a superintendent who was fanatical about edging the turf away from the cart path edges, preferring a clean look.  While that is usually 2-4 times per year task, this person had a full time guy on it, and when he got around to 18, it was time to go back to the first hole again, given how fast Bermuda grows.  Once we convinced him that should have been a lower priority, he was able to maintain the 20 bunkers we added to his previously bunkerless design (said he didn't have time to maintain bunkers). In the first year after re-opening, play went up 50% due to the bunkers (which had cloth liners, BTW, to save money over BBB).  Just an example of how supers must or can switch priorities around to improve course presentation.  Another example from the same course was his (correct, IMHO, but some disagreed) decision to leave fw and roughs a bit higher to reduce mowing costs, which I thought was just fine for a $30 greens fee course.
Title: Re: Better Billy Bunker Method
Post by: Mike_Young on November 23, 2017, 11:12:21 AM
Connor,

you say above: "I'm more intrigued by the logic that clubs take the savings from bunker maintenance and apply it elsewhere, ultimately making the maintenance budget bigger...That should be the end goal of their installation, but how often is that actually the case?"

I'm confused by that sentence.  I've always considered golf maintenance expense and construction to have two camps.  The first is the small group of clubs run by committee who divide the cost of a project amongst members ..ex: a million dollar project at a 1000 member club is really just a $1000 project.   This works like the government and taxes.  The second group says if I can operate for this much then I can make this much profit and a million dollar expense is a cost that has to be justified and is not just there so that they can spend more somewhere else but instead there to help make a profit.   These are two entirely different golf operations.    In many other businesses if an engineer was designing a product and said " hey, this method will save us $50 per piece.  Can I find something else to put on here for the $50 savings?"  He would be looked at as if he were crazy.  Golf needs to be looked at as to how we can do it in a manner that is affordable for most if it is to make it.   But perhaps you meant something different.

Jeff,

You say:"Sort of OT, but we once had a superintendent who was fanatical about edging the turf away from the cart path edges, preferring a clean look.  While that is usually 2-4 times per year task, this person had a full time guy on it, and when he got around to 18, it was time to go back to the first hole again, given how fast Bermuda grows.  Once we convinced him that should have been a lower priority, he was able to maintain the 20 bunkers we added to his previously bunkerless design (said he didn't have time to maintain bunkers). In the first year after re-opening, play went up 50% due to the bunkers (which had cloth liners, BTW, to save money over BBB).  Just an example of how supers must or can switch priorities around to improve course presentation.  Another example from the same course was his (correct, IMHO, but some disagreed) decision to leave fw and roughs a bit higher to reduce mowing costs, which I thought was just fine for a $30 greens fee course.

Do you really think play went up on a golf course 50% due to bunkers?  It's a $30 green fee course.  Really up play 50%?? ;D ;D
After I had been in business about 10 years a local archie who was later prez of you fraternity told me my goal should be to get higher and higher budgets to be successful in the business.  That one statement really stuck with me and changed the way I thought about so much.  As I was thinking about our earlier discussions on this thread and you questioned how many mom and pops were out there and how management companies could do more than those courses, well I did some calculating. 

Last year NGF said 460 million rounds were played.  Presently we have about 15,000 courses.  If we say there are 2500 private, resort type courses across the country with the rest being mom and pops and that 1000 of those 2500 are upper and play 15,000 rounds each and the other 1500 of those courses play 30,000 rounds each for a total of 60 million rounds leaving 400,000,000 rounds played by the other 12,500 courses out there.  Now granted the 12,500 course don't promote outside of a 20 mile radius and they don't buy new equipment or if they do renovation they don't hire archies often and they don't hire management companies but they do lease golf cars, hire golf pros and supts and buy golf balls.  That is golf in this country to me....not that I don't appreciate the 2500 but the business is in figuring how to deal with those 12,500.  Ask a Clubcar or a Titleist or even a Toro and see what they say.  While the 2500 is making the splash and getting all of the awards and "most important in golf" awards the other guys are just laughing and doing their thing.

Go eat a turkey.... ;D
Title: Re: Better Billy Bunker Method
Post by: Tom_Doak on November 23, 2017, 11:17:28 AM

I was talking to John Moore and my roommate at dinner a few weeks ago about our interaction on this thread, and they informed me how frowned upon it is to call someone "crass." Knowing what it means now (or at least how most people interpret it), it's not the word I would have used nor was I trying to imply that I was saying that you were stupid or that the clumsiness hurt my feelings. If you were offended by the comment I am truly sorry.



Connor:


I have a pretty thick skin, and don't take offense easily.  I usually see things like that and think that someone is trying to minimize the substance of my comments by changing the subject and attacking me, instead.  I am not offended by your posts on this thread ... but you weren't the only one to call me crass, either.  I also got it from at least one of the plaid-jacket guys.  Maybe he doesn't know his English very well, either.


Nor did I take any offense at Alan FitzGerald's post.  If a club is spending millions of dollars on a renovation, then spending somewhat more to protect the sand is justifiable, as long as you believe the product will last long-term as it's claimed.  [Over the past 20 years, I've seen many products come and go, and had to rip out some of the old ones.]


Mike Young said it better than I could ... the bothersome point is that some architects believe the most expensive solution is the best solution for all situations, and have no hesitation saying that a club or a town should take on debt to go that way.  [I cringe when I think of what my parents would have thought of that, or what anyone I know in Scotland would say.  The idea of taking on debt to build golf hasn't worked out well that often in history.]  That, of course, is not limited to bunker liners ... I've never seen a bigger waste of money than trucking in "USGA greens mix" on a site where the native soil would have probably passed the spec.


Much like USGA greens, too, I am somewhat concerned about being able to build the shapes you want when you keep adding layers to the construction process.  It makes it harder to visualize the final product ... and once you've got the liner in the bunker, it's too late.  I saw an awful example of this in Germany last year, where the bunkers wound up so shallow as to be meaningless, but they are locked into that depth now because they spent so much money achieving it!  If you are using any of these products, there is more of an imperative to get the shaping 100% right the first time, because editing is way more expensive than before.
Title: Re: Better Billy Bunker Method
Post by: Tom_Doak on November 23, 2017, 11:21:27 AM
Presently we have about 15,000 courses.  If we say there are 2500 private, resort type courses across the country with the rest being mom and pops and that 1000 of those 2500 are upper and play 15,000 rounds each and the other 1500 of those courses play 30,000 rounds each for a total of 60 million rounds leaving 400,000,000 rounds played by the other 12,500 courses out there.


Mike:


I love your input here but do you have any backup for your 2500 out of 15,000 number, or the number of total rounds those 2500 courses generate?  I agree with you that the majority of courses are small-time affairs, but I think you're exaggerating the numbers.  For example, there are lots of "mom and pop" operations in northern Michigan, but there aren't five times as many of them as there are resort-owned properties.
Title: Re: Better Billy Bunker Method
Post by: Mike_Young on November 23, 2017, 11:44:57 AM
TD,

One of the golf car companies located here in Ga told me just a couple of years ago that there were less than 2500 501c7 golf courses in the US. This company rated the courses in the US as A's, B's or C's when it came to budgets.  I argued as you are here.  I didn't think it could be.  But then I looked at Georgia.  We have 400 courses with probably 30 clubs that are 501c7's and top tier clubs.  We might have another 20 resort type places and out of all of these we probably have less than 40 clubs run my management companies.  And so I thought more and thought about places like Tennessee or Virginia and felt that they may be right or closer to right than I thought at first.  While I don't know about Michigan, I am thinking many of the western states and midwestern would fit the same percentages.   If 50 states had 50 top tier clubs then we would have 2500.  That's a lot.   So I don't know, I do know when I ask myself if I could give a list of my top 1000 it would be difficult. 
So here are my questions for you:
How many of the 12,500 course are 9 hole courses?
How many are par 3 courses?
My biggest question is of my beloved NGF...if we really had 460,000,000 rounds, that would be 30,667 rounds per course across the country.  Which means golf would have no problems...and I would call BS on it except for this number from Titleist:
Titleist is 70% of the US ball market.
If the average guy uses 2 balls per round and there are 460 million rounds then 920 million balls are used in the US each year.
Let's assume 25% of the balls used are lake balls or other forms of secondary mrket balls and not new, out of the box.  That leaves us with 690 million new balls sold each year.
If Titleist sells 70% of that they would sell 40,250,000 dozen balls sold.  And that close to what they sell in the US

So I don't know but I think I'm close....
Title: Re: Better Billy Bunker Method
Post by: Tom_Doak on November 23, 2017, 01:46:13 PM
Well, there have got to be more than 30 courses in the Atlanta area that would consider themselves "top tier", but maybe not so many in Mississippi or Alabama.


I guess the difference is I wouldn't call a place like Traverse City C.C. a "mom and pop" course, even if the budget and number of rounds are in the same league.  I assumed you were talking about owner/operator places with that term.  Budget-wise, though, I'd say 2500 "A" courses is probably correct.  There are lots of states that have only a handful of those.
Title: Re: Better Billy Bunker Method
Post by: Mike_Young on November 23, 2017, 04:43:16 PM
Well, there have got to be more than 30 courses in the Atlanta area that would consider themselves "top tier", but maybe not so many in Mississippi or Alabama.


I guess the difference is I wouldn't call a place like Traverse City C.C. a "mom and pop" course, even if the budget and number of rounds are in the same league.  I assumed you were talking about owner/operator places with that term.  Budget-wise, though, I'd say 2500 "A" courses is probably correct.  There are lots of states that have only a handful of those.

Yep.."mom and pop" might not be the proper term.

As for 30 who think they are top tier in ATL and 30 that are top tier....I'm not sure there are 30 top tier in GA..I was just being nice...and I am quite confident that many of those "top tier" don't play anymore than 15,000 rounds...
Title: Re: Better Billy Bunker Method
Post by: Greg Chambers on November 23, 2017, 08:21:15 PM
Greg ó No slinging, but I do believe it has a place for many sites, especially those, as noted, where we have rock in the native soils that cannot be prevented from migrating upward...without a HARD liner that will not give way. I'm in my 32nd year as a golf course architect, and have seen a lot of bunker renovation work...including having to re-do my own work! I suppose to be fair, if you think "recommending" when the application for BBB is right amounts to slinging, then I suppose. But truthfully, all GCAs recommend, whether it be turf, soil plating, native grass selection, sand types, etc.  Everything we import to a golf site (and even the stuff we shift around) comes with a cost. And all this comes with a sales force behind it, whether it be the guy who sells sand, the woman who markets native seed, or the huge corporation who provides irrigation components.


I know the game...Iíve been involved in it a long time.  If 90% of your projects use it, then that means youíre ďrecommendingĒ it 100% of the time.  Thatís slinging it.
Title: Re: Better Billy Bunker Method
Post by: Forrest Richardson on November 24, 2017, 09:18:16 PM
It lasts. It works. That's my take. But, as noted, we do not employ it everywhere. We are selective, and it has to make sense and work from all angles.


Tom D ó You ARE snarky!! Hard to disclaim that title...to claim otherwise is a misnomer. Face it. You are a non-conformist, and that is among your most revered hallmarks ó we all love that about you. Staying well away from the BBB bandwagon is good for you. On the other hand, if BBB works mathematically, so neat if you might actually laud it!!   ;)
Title: Re: Better Billy Bunker Method
Post by: Greg Chambers on December 04, 2017, 02:51:28 AM
Using it on 90 percent of your jobs doesnít sound very selective to me.  Make sense and work from all angles?  Wtf does that mean? 
Title: Re: Better Billy Bunker Method
Post by: Forrest Richardson on December 04, 2017, 09:46:40 AM
Calm down Greg. I think it was 5+ years ago that we first tried the BBB method. Based on that success, it has been used on all but two projects, both of which were in locales that did not have soil issues where we would see migration of rock coming upwards. My 90% estimate is about right. If you re-read my rationale for using a hard-based liner I think it will answer any questions you still have.

It seems one of the concerns (I think that's the right word) in this thread is whether specifying BBB, or any liner method, is somehow throwing costs to golf construction work unnecessarily.

1. A lot of bunkers need liners because they are built in areas where contamination between sand and what is underneath will rapidly ruin the bunker and this will lead to adding sand, re-building and potentially undermining drainage. So, form this perspective, liners are good in these situations (e.g., certain soils). Not every course is built on pristine sandy soils with no rock, clays, etc. 

2. Once a liner is determined to be a good approach, the choices are between soft liners (fabrics), hard liners (such as BBB), sprays that seal native soils, or sod placed below the sand layer. Based on my experience with all (except the sod method) I have concluded that the rock (BBB) method is the most reliable.

3. An important factor is cost. Again, in the west where most of my work takes place, gravel is readily available and we have found that the BBB method is about the same as using any of the other methods.

Rebuilding bunkers is costly. In an average capital budget (per year) it is not uncommon to have $40,000 being set aside to re-work bunkers. This is based on $350,000 worth of bunker work at a 7-8 year lifecycle. Of course not all clubs set aside enough for renovation work. What we are trying to do is look for ways to add life to golf course infrastructure ... hard liners like BBB are just one example. Another example is HDPE pipe, which lasts four times longer than PVC.



Title: Re: Better Billy Bunker Method
Post by: Jeff_Brauer on December 04, 2017, 10:04:01 AM

Just a note to say it appears even more liners are coming on the market, including Z liners, Soil Tech (technically not new, and a new one from Sand Trapper, which seems to be a bit like the Bunker Solutions method, sort of an Astro turf type, which I always thought was a pretty good idea - the thicker fabric works, and moves with the soil, which BBB doesn't.  It was always more expensive, so few used it.


Anyway, with more and more bunker liner companies jumping in, the cost of all of them should start to come down, which is a good thing.  The monopoly period is quickly coming to an end.
Title: Re: Better Billy Bunker Method
Post by: Jimmy Cavezza on December 06, 2017, 10:33:52 AM
Has anyone had to renovate a bunker with a hard permeable liner?  Curious on the cost difference between renovating one of these compared to older methods.  Would definitely add a step to the process along with disposing of these materials.
Title: Re: Better Billy Bunker Method
Post by: Forrest Richardson on December 06, 2017, 10:56:09 AM
Jimmy - The BBB is a permeable liner. The polymer holds the stone together, yet allows water to move down and laterally toward the low point (drain). In essence, it is one large drainage layer.
 
Title: Re: Better Billy Bunker Method
Post by: Jimmy Cavezza on December 06, 2017, 11:28:27 AM
Forrest - Have you had to remove a previously installed permeable liner?  Curious on cost.  Does the material have to be hauled off or can it be exposed of on site.  Just curious on what will need to be done in the future when these bunkers are due to renovate.[size=78%]  I know if it's just sand-out/sand-in you can simply respray with polymer but how detailed is the process when there are architectural changes?[/size]
Title: Re: Better Billy Bunker Method
Post by: Forrest Richardson on December 06, 2017, 11:54:08 AM
A fat guy walked on the edge of a bunker we completed a few years ago before we had placed sand (at least that was the rumor) and we had the builder/shaper cut out a section about 2x6 feet and replace it. I believe they threw the old pieces in the dumpster. As far as I know there is nothing hazardous in the polymer. It does stick like glue if it gets on your skin! I can attest to that.