One of the larger golf developments in the world is under way in the Pakistani city of Multan, and Welsh-based synthetic bunker edging specialist EcoBunker is on the ground.
Designed by Sir Nick Faldo’s practice and still currently under construction, the Rumanza course is part of a 9,000-acre community being developed by DHA Multan, an offshoot of the Pakistani Ministry of Defence.
“This is a vast development on land that has historically been used for agriculture and is rather flat,” Faldo Design lead architect Andy Haggar said. “On part of the site, fruits, notably mangoes and oranges used to be grown, while elsewhere the land was used for cereal crops. The development will be a key center of excellence for golf in Pakistan and a Sir Nick Faldo Signature project.
“Any design has to work with the local environment and obviously on a flat site that can be difficult to find. From my first visit, I latched on to the ‘deras’ – vernacular mud brick dwellings, surrounded by walls which form a courtyard. The walls are rendered with the same mud mix so you don't see the bricks. These were dotted around the site, and I immediately thought ‘We have to use these.’ The golf course is mostly cut into the ground, so a significant part will provide a quarry-type setting for a number of holes. Elsewhere, the golf course will further utilize the natural sand to give more of a desert feel, with an area of retained fruit trees providing a third playing environment.
“Once we had scraped off the top surface of material we found pure sand that seems to go on forever. That's why we chose a linksy shaping theme, and hence the revetted bunkers. Obviously given the location, it is a warm-season turf project and it’s difficult to revet satisfactorily in warm-season grasses, which is why we got EcoBunker involved. The bunkers will not be wholly revetted – I want a revetted edge in the line of play and grassy edges elsewhere, and there are also waste areas that are edged with EcoBunker.”
The company is supplying material to both the contractor, Desert Group, and their subcontractors, as well as providing training. “Construction manager Llewelyn Matthews will go out to Pakistan in November to coincide with Sir Nick’s next visit, spending a week there building several bunkers of different shapes and sizes, to train the team,” said EcoBunker founder and CEO Richard Allen, who noted that among his company’s projects, only the 27-hole TPC Sugarloaf was larger.