After successfully completing a huge bunker renovation project at the prestigious West Kilbride Golf Club in Ayrshire, Souters Sports have been widely praised by both the club's secretary and architect.
The West Kilbride Golf Club, established in 1893, is situated on the Ayrshire coast, with spectacular views across the Firth of Clyde to the beautiful island of Arran. As host to regular national events, West Kilbride is the most northerly of Ayrshire's true links courses and the entire course is exposed to even the slightest breeze. With the strongest of winds coming from the South West and North West, the 6523 yard course offers players the experience of links golf at its most demanding.
West Kilbride has a committed membership base and its motto is "Gaudio Cedat Cura" - which translates to "Care gives way to joy," which is perhaps testament to the club's recent decision to rejuvenate over 30 bunkers.
"We essentially wanted to make them look and play a lot better," says managing secretary Graham MacKenzie. "On some of the older bunkers the drainage had suffered and over time had developed a poor shape. We also wanted natural looking bunkers - to give the course more of a links feel and after a few members had commented on them we decided to go ahead with the project."
The club called upon Scottish Golf Course Architects Rennie Design Ltd to undertake an analytical study of the facilities and following an in-depth report, plans for the renovation works were soon put in place.
"The next step was to put the job to tender, and myself and Stuart Rennie (managing director of Rennie Design) invited three different contractors to come in and pitch. It was at this point that we chose Souters Sports because we were most impressed with what they had done at other courses and with their overall portfolio. They came across incredibly well and we also thought that their proposal offered good value for money," said Graham.
With the architect's vision in place and the Souters team briefed, construction commenced in late October and was complete by the end of February allowing time for establishment in advance of the season ahead. The works incorporated the strategic repositioning of bunkers, building bunkers in similar positions, shaping support mounding and landform, drainage installation, irrigation alterations and finishing. The final piece of works was carried out on the 18th hole where the entire hole was re-bunkered to create improved strategy and deliver a visually impressive finishing hole.
"Between the architect and the club, we had a few different ideas throughout the project which changed the process but Souters were very accommodating," says Graham. "The feedback has been extremely good, not only from members but also from visitors who come to play on open days. The appearance is most notable and they look a lot tidier than they previously did and they also play a lot better.
"I'm very happy with the work and would absolutely recommend Souters Sports and Rennie Design. We built up a good relationship throughout the project and I would absolutely work with them again in the future."
With such a potential complex project, Stuart was pleased that Souters were able to flawlessly bring his vision to life.
"Souters Sports worked tirelessly throughout and carried out all aspects of the works in a professional manner. They were a joy to work with and Scott Maclaren and his site team pulled out all the stops to deliver the architects vision to the satisfaction of the client," he said.