A Better Lie in the Sand

Urbana’s Worthington Manor completes renovations.

Renovations at Worthington Manor make for better golf

Although no golfer ever wants to find their ball in the sand, for those hitting the links at Worthington Manor Golf Course in Urbana, a bunker renovation project may make it easier to punch out if they land there.

Worthington Manor Golf Course, located off Fingerboard Road in Urbana is a 7,034-yard Ault-Clark signature course and a frequent U.S. Open qualifying site for golfers playing for a bid on the tour. Now the course has improved its play, thanks to nearly a year-long project finished this spring.

It took 1,500 tons of sand to fix the courses’ bunkers that had fallen victim to erosion and sediment issues, according to Course Superintendent Bernard Hipkins, whose job it is to keep the course in pristine playing condition.

The bunkers along the entire course had been holding water and become full of silt and soil instead of sand. That mixture makes it much harder for golfers to play this hazard.

“It was pretty much every bunker,” Hipkins said. “The lies in the bunker were not good.”

Following the United States Golf Association protocol for bunker renovation, Hipkins and his team of 14 refaced each of the bunks, digging an 18- to 24-inch vertical wall along the edges. Each bunker was then re-sloped down to the middle. Hipkins also installed a bunker wall made of highly porous polymer material to help keep the soil from infiltrating back in.

“This will help keep the soil where is should be, under the bunker,” Hipkins said.

The project launched in August. Workers were able to fix the first 13 holes before the ground froze in December. Hipkins said he restarted the project at the end of February and had all the work completed by May 1.

The total project cost was $50,000, including about $35,000 in sand and $11,000 in material for the bunker walls.

“The comments so far have been good. We have started to hand rake the bunkers, and they are firm now and … always have a good lie,” Hipkins said.

The next project at the course is to improve the wetlands area located on four holes. Hipkins said he has worked with Frederick County to create an improvement plan to eradicate the wetlands of the foreign weed species that has invaded the area and pushed out the natural ecosystem there. About 1.5 acres of wetlands is included in the project.

“The result will be more aesthetically pleasing to the golfers and better for the ecosystem,” Hipkins said.


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