The Naperville, Ill. club installed Better Billy Bunkers throughout the property to address drainage issues and enhance playability. “We can have two inches of rain and there won’t be a drop of water in them,” Golf Course Superintendent Reed Newman says of the new bunkers. Stacked stone walls were added to the pond surrounds, as well.
Renovations at Springbrook Golf Course in Naperville, Ill. are complete, and the course is opening for play June 15, NCTV reported. A ribbon-cutting ceremony will be conducted on June 14. The public is invited to attend and can compete in a chipping and putting contest.
The golf course itself has gone through many changes in both the quality and design of the course, NCTV reported. One of Springbrook’s missions was to update its bunker drainage system.
“So all the bunkers are Better Billy Bunkers and that’s going to save us a lot of time with labor,” said Springbrook Golf Course Superintendent, Reed Newman. “You know, in the past, we had really big bunkers here, no drainage in them or very old drainage pipe. “Now with Better Billy Bunkers, we can have two inches of rain and there won’t be a drop of water in them. They’ll drain well, they’ll rarely wash out. If they do, it’s just going to be a little hand for one of my guys rather than, you know, having six guys for eight hours fixing bunkers.”
In addition to the drainage, Springbrook Golf Course changed the size and quantity of bunkers, NCTV reported.
“A lot of the bunkers are smaller, not as big, but we do have more bunkers,” said Newman. “So I think playability-wise with all the fairway expansions as well, we added close to two acres of fairways, which is a lot throughout the golf course, because before we had about 19 acres of fairways. Now we’re looking closer to 22 acres.”
Springbrook Director of Golf, Kevin Carlson, explained that the course will have an eyebrow effect around all its bunker, NCTV reported. It lets the bunker stand out, with short grass at the bottom and taller grass towards the top of the bunker.
“Most of the lies in the bunkers that you’re going to get are going to be relatively flat and they’re going to be easier for people to get out of,” said Carlson. “But then it will still give you the challenge of dealing with that face and getting over that.”
The course will now have different walls surrounding its ponds, using an Eden stacked stone wall, instead of steel, NCTV reported. New bridges are in place along holes 9 and 10. Another notable course improvement is the tee boxes.
“We actually have five-inch layer sand-capped tee boxes, so the top five inches is all of a 7 to 1 divot mix, 70% sand mix, which is going to help with drainage and playability and keep them nice and firm,” said Newman. “And then we went with a 007 (double-0-7) bent grass for the grass variety on the tees themselves. Along with squaring them off, changing the elevation on some of the tee boxes, making them a little bit higher up.”
As for hole changes at Springbrook, the iconic long par-five hole 11 was the biggest undertaking, NCTV reported. The pond next to the green was dredged before being excavated.
“We actually moved [the pond] over a little bit to make room for a run-up area to number 11 green here so that the fairway and the approach go straight into the green rather than in the past, It would go off to the left side and the pond would be covering at least half of the green,” said Newman.
The first hole showcases an expanded fairway and a smaller fairway bunker, NCTV reported. Also, a new left-side bunker was added at the green. Hole 8 also sees a new bunker complex and bunkers added, making it a challenging tee shot. The ninth green looks a bit different with the cart path in a different spot, while also having a new right-side green bunker.
The course is set to re-open for play June 15, but with the renovations being so new, the number of tee times available will remain limited for the first few weeks, NCTV reported.
“We are going to slowly open the golf course, we will have a limited number of tee times beginning on June 15th,” said Carlson. “And, you know, eventually, we’ll get to the point later this summer we will be fully open again. We know there are a couple of areas on the golf course that aren’t quite fully mature yet. So we want to take care with making sure we’re not getting too many people out there right away.”