Blog 192, 3/28/12 - Country Club Bunker Renovation Nearing Completion

bgcc 1st bunker
Looking good. Bunker right of 1st green.
It's amazing the difference new sand can make to a golf course. Dave Bocci has always done a terrific job maintaining the near 100-year-old course at Bellingham Golf and Country Club, but five months into the bunker renovation it is looking, if not new exactly, then certainly a lot more vibrant.
The bunkers at the Country Club had not been treated for 20 years. The old sand had lost its color due to silt contamination and the gradual emergence of organic matter. With a constant stream of traffic the sand had inevitably become dirty, and the bunker edges ill-defined. Most, especially those around the green, had also become significantly smaller.
In 2008, a masterplan recommending major upgrades to the bunkers was produced. The cost of adopting the plan in its entirety was prohibitive, however, so the club decided to make improvements in stages, starting with replacement of the old sand.
bgcc old sand
Old sand...
bgcc new sand sand
"The bunkers were in such bad condition, something had to be done," says Bocci who has been at the club for 13 years. "Initially, the membership wanted the old sand removed and new sand added, a project that would not require an architect or golf course contractor. Soon after we began, we decided we could do some additional work at little additional cost. We were able to locate the original bunker edges without much difficulty which meant we could easily move many of the bunkers back closer to the greens."
Like the vast majority of clubs in our region that are renovating their bunkers, Bellingham GCC is using Ravensdale Tan Bunker Sand from the Reserve Silica open pit mine 30 miles southwest of Seattle. It's hard to believe, given the stark difference in appearance between the greenside bunkers that have been treated and the fairway bunkers that haven't, but this is the same sand that was used the last time Bellingham GCC performed similar work. "In addition to the great color that the membership loves, it is also a very high quality bunker sand," says Bocci.
dave bocci
Dave Bocci
Of the course's 43 bunkers, Bocci has now renovated 22, adding the new sand, cutting new edges, and, in many cases, expanding them by as much as 20%. Work begun on the two greenside hazards guarding the 6th green last week. Once all 32 greenside bunkers have been improved, Bocci and his team will turn their attention to the fairway bunkers. The plan is to have the project completed in time for the Member-Guest tournament in July.


Western Washington shot a closing four-under 284 to finish second at the Grand Canyon Thunderbird Spring Invitational Tuesday. With a final total of 15-under 849 on the Red (Heritage) Course at the Wigwam Resort in Litchfield Park, Ariz., the Vikings completed the three rounds nine behind winner Cal State Stanislaus. 
WWU’s Nick Varelia tied for third in the medalist standings at 209 after a third-round 72 while teammates Craig Crawford and Dylan Goodwin finished in a five-way tie for seventh on 211. Jake Webb tied for 45th on 221, and Mark Strickland tied for 51st a further shot behind.
“We’ve shown signs of improvement in terms of competitiveness,” said coach Steve Card. “We need to work on that the rest of the spring and peak at regionals.”
Tying for medalist honors at 9-under 207 were Trevor Blair from Cal State Stanislaus and Eddie DeLashmutt from Colorado-Colorado Springs.
WWU next travels to Miami Beach, Florida, to compete in the Barry University Invitational on April 2-3 at the Normandy Shores Golf Course.
Scores here.

Congratulations to Shane Clarke and Mark Walker who won First Division Gross in the Two-Man Stableford at Lake Padden last weekend. Mike Anderson and Terry Moore won First Division Net. Results here. The Men's Club's next event is the first major of the season - the Spring Field Day on Saturday April 7th.

Congratulations also to Craig Roth and Cody Roth, Peter Kolodychuk and Daniel Kim, Daryl Warner and Al Gulbranson, and Steve Pake, who qualified for the regional qualifier of the ESPN National Golf Challenge at Washinton National, after winning their respective flights at Sudden Valley's ESPN Two-Man Better Ball at the weekend. Results here.
The ESPN Challenge was the final event of the KISM Winter Series. The grand prize winner was Craig Roth who finished with 1028 points, 238 ahead of son Cody. Final points table here.

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