Typhoon Mangkhut, which hit Hong Kong last weekend, was the most intense storm to hit the territory since records began in 1946.
Winds of up to 250 km/h (155 mph) battered the region, and the associated storm surge saw floodwaters reach their highest levels since 1904, up to 3.38 metres (eleven feet) above normal.
The storm uprooted 1,500 trees and shattered hundreds of windows across Hong Kong. But on two of the territory’s golf courses, the damage was less than might have been expected. During the summer, both the Shek O Country Club and the Clearwater Bay G&CC installed the EcoBunker synthetic edging system in trial bunkers on their courses, and both bunkers survived the storm with no damage to the artificial turf wall, in contrast with the rest of the course, several holes of which were left underwater.
During summer 2018, the 99 year old Shek O club used a small area of land close to the coast to build a new short game practice area, with three artificial grass greens, each with three tees, creating, in effect, a nine hole par three short course. Late in planning, the club, in conjunction with Hong Kong-based EcoBunker distributor Jeffrey Eshuis of Centaur Asia Pacific, decided to use the EcoBunker system on the practice area. Course manager Ross Grieve was interested in learning about new bunker construction methods that could be used to reduce his maintenance on many of the course’s bunkers, which tend to suffer from regular washouts during the region’s regular heavy rainfall events.
EcoBunker airfreighted three pallets of its product from London to Hong Kong, and chief executive Richard Allen travelled to the territory to train the local teams in the unique EcoBunker construction technique.
Meanwhile, at Clearwater Bay down the coast, EcoBunker construction specialist Llewelyn Matthews built another trial bunker – using a combination of Capillary Concrete liner technology and EcoBunker edging – in August. That too survived Mangkhut intact.
Richard Allen said: “The design is based on an innovative fusion of established engineering techniques, providing confidence in the strength and stability of our product and our construction methodology, but you don’t get any testing grounds more severe than a super-typhoon of this kind. Both clubs have a lot of clearing up to do elsewhere, but their EcoBunkers won’t be adding to the workload.”