The Fountain Hills, Ariz. club is reshaping and rebuilding bunkers with a technically advanced drainage and liner system featuring Capillary Concrete, while also eliminating redundant hazards on its 25-year-old, Scott Miller-designed course. The five-month-long project, which began in mid-May, also involves extensive soil remediation aimed at improving the long-term turf quality and playing conditions.
Eagle Mountain Golf Club in Fountain Hills, Ariz. is in the midst of a golf course renovation and enhancement project. The five-month-long project, which began in mid-May, is focused on enhancing agronomic conditions and bunker playability at the 25-year-old property.
Troon’s Agronomy and Golf Course Development teams is planning and managing the project with Scottsdale-based Casa Verde Golf, an industry-leader in golf course construction and renovation, executing the work. With the enhancements occurring during the slower summer months, the project will not result in the golf course closing as crews will work around play.
The original 18-hole Scott Miller-designed golf course opened for play in 1996. This summer’s renovation and enhancement work will focus on three areas: drainage, irrigation and bunkers.
Drainage areas in approaches and landing areas will be renovated to support turf health along with firmer and faster conditions. Bunkers will be modified (some eliminated), reshaped and rebuilt incorporating a technically advanced drainage and liner system featuring Capillary Concrete. This new generation lining method increases the speed at which water flows through the bunker; minimizing washouts, reducing maintenance and producing superior playability. The new bunkers will be refilled with premium 50:50 bunker sand (50 percent white and 50 percent tan blended together) and are expected to last for many years to come. Crews will also improve various wash crossings and make landscape enhancements throughout the course.
“Bunkers are being rebuilt and updated, but we will be keeping the same overall look and strategy that has been a hallmark of Eagle Mountain over the years,” said Casa Verde Golf Senior Vice President of Agronomy & Construction Luke Beardmore. “We plan on removing redundant bunkers, moving from roughly 88,000 sq. ft. of bunkers to 68,000 sq. ft. Some bunkers will be morphed together, with those that are eliminated converted into either grassy hollows or filled-in to look like they were never there at all.”
In addition, the Eagle Mountain agronomy team and Casa Verde Agronomic Solutions will perform an extensive soil remediation project aimed at improving long-term turf quality and playing conditions.
“Like many courses in Arizona, Eagle Mountain uses recycled wastewater [effluent] to irrigate,” said Dave Nicholls, Senior Vice President of Science and Agronomy for Troon. “With that comes a variety of unique challenges. The water is extremely high in sodium, chloride, and bicarbonates and those ‘salts’ have a profoundly negative long-term impact on the soil and its ability to support plant life. To counteract the salt load from the water, we perform a variety of natural cultural practices, including aerification, linear decompaction, drainage, flushing, and applications of calcium [gypsum] to amend the soil.”
“Our inputs are typically proportionate to the challenge, and therefore are more intensive following long, dry periods of weather [drought] such as 2020, which was the hottest and driest summer on record. The result of this and the other actions we are taking this summer will enhance the agronomic conditions, playability and keep Eagle Mountain Golf Club at the top of golfers must play lists,” added Nicholls.
The par-71, 6,800-yard course is located in the ravines and foothills of the McDowell Mountains just east of Scottsdale. In 2020, Eagle Mountain Golf Club moved under the Troon Golf brand and is now managed by the resort and daily-fee division of the leading golf management company.