The Antognolla resort near Perugia, Italy, has completed its first year of play following a renovation of its Robert Trent Jones Jr-designed golf course.
The 2018 project saw every bunker redesigned and rebuilt, with work overseen by Jones and his project architect Mike Gorman.
“Due to how wet the site was in winter, the decision was made to perform the works in the summer and early autumn period – challenging, but the only way to get the work done,” said Keith Haslam of Braemar Golf, which act as golf advisors for the client.
The project commenced in June 2018 with most work completed by December, with the finishing touches made by February 2019.
Jones said: “The new bunkering is visually stunning, naturally fitting within the landscape while enhancing the challenges and rewards throughout golf course. We are delighted with the end results and the feedback from golfers and golf media has been extremely positive.”
Bunker and drainage works were conducted by Atlantic Golf Construction, sub-contracted by main contractor Acquafert and included the installation of Capillary Concrete’s liner system. The overall bunker area has been reduced from 8,500 to 5,500 square meters, with the number of bunkers reduced from 66 to 47. “This assists resources can go into ensuring the bunkers are maintained and presented appropriately,” said Haslam.
“All bunkers were redesigned or removed, with new bunkers strategically placed to come into play. Each of the remaining bunkers in the new design have been completely rebuilt and finished with new layers of locally sourced sand.”
The project also included upgrades of the irrigation system, resurfacing of tees, introduction of unirrigated fescue areas, renovated cart paths and a new driving range.
To enhance the existing drainage systems that would leave the course wet after rainfall and especially throughout the winter — creating issues for machinery use and the maintenance crew — a new drainage programme was formed, which utilised the existing solid pipe network that was installed originally.
The project has seen around 14,000 metres of new perforated pipe drainage, 40,000 metres of secondary drainage sand bands and retrofitting most of the old catch basins with a fit-for-purpose solution.
The golf director at Antognolla, César Burguière, said: “The effect has been immediate and very positive, with the golf course visibly drier creating an all year-round playable golf course.”
“The improved drainage has been a huge factor for the condition of the golf course and playability,” said Haslam. “This area has probably exceeded our expectations and even after some of the heaviest rainfall and storms seen this year, the course was open again the following day with carts on fairways.”
New irrigation, designed by James Massarenti, has been installed on the course, based around the new grassing lines, which has reintroduced 13.5 hectares of unirrigated native fescue areas. A Rain Bird decoder system has been installed.
The new 250-metre driving range, designed by Jones, is located on the site of the club’s former nine-hole layout. The new range includes bunkers that continue the style of those seen on the course and includes 1,000 square metres of teeing area.