This golf club’s bunkers are made of recycled beer bottles

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir May 15, 2015 10:59

The sand in the bunkers of Beauchief Golf Course in Sheffield is now made of recycled glass.

Green bunkers (3)

The environmentally friendly initiative, which began last month, has seen the club become one of the first in the country to take the plunge and replace traditional sand with glass, typically from recycled beer bottles.

It is part of the golf course’s new energy and environment policy, which is focused on increasing levels of recycling.

Green bottles from the bar at Beauchief are being ground to a fine sand at a special processing factory.

Andy Carnall, golf manager at Beauchief Golf Course, said: “We’re really keen to do our bit by reducing the amount of glass bottles that could get thrown away and increasing the levels of recycling at Beauchief.

“We appreciate that changing the colour of the bunkers to green will make them harder for players to pick out but we are confident they will rise to the challenge.”

Four years ago Golf Club Management reported on Epping Golf Course, which was also using glass in its bunkers.

“I was worried about the damage to mower blades, the appearance of the sand, drainage and playability and what maintenance and recycling policy we might need,” said spokesman Neil Sjoberg. In the end, ReMaDe Essex, a recycling project, explained that the damage to the blades was no worse than the normal sharp sand, the appearance would be slightly green and the playability and drainage would be excellent. Neil ordered 60 tonnes.

“A few days later we used our chain trencher to run the drains to the bunker shapes and filled in the trenches with drain, pea shingle and topping off ash, so not to disrupt weekend play with open trenches,” he said. “We managed to use much of the oversized sand in the drainage runs.

“Much of the turf was reversed to form the bunker base and I spent a morning collecting geosynthetic membrane to line them. Some of the bunkers were then ready to play with seeded banks roped off.”

Within two months the bunkers were fully in use and the GUR lines were removed. The golfers all seemed happy with the new bunkers which played and drain well.

“The total cost of the five bunkers, including labour, was less than £5,000,” said Neil.

“I am aware that, although very acceptable, the finished results do not come up to the high standards of beautiful landscaping I have seen elsewhere. On the other hand one of our main aims is to keep subscriptions and green fees down, and respond to golfers’ requests.

“The exercise does hold a stark contrast to the committee meetings, members’ consultations and expense that one experiences at clubs often dealing with smaller projects. I really hope that this helps some secretaries persuade their committees to trust them to push ahead with similar projects.

“Boldness has its rewards.”


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir May 15, 2015 10:59
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  1. philmac May 23, 12:13

    Blundells Hill golf club on merseyside were involved with the STRI and a locsl university about 8 years ago. We filled a bunker with recycled glass and found it very good as there was no silt the material was more free draining than traditional bunker sand. We were told that no where local producing this product and the project never went further. Can you shed any light as to where glass sand can be purchased?

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  2. greenfee May 15, 14:56

    Fascinating story, is the photograph above of a bunker using the recycled sand because the article does say the appearance is green? If not it would be very interesting to see a photo and compare.

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