Pursell Farms – Bunker Renovation

Pursell Farms

Pursell Farms

Tripp Davis completes Bunker Project at Pursell Farms

FarmLinks, one of Alabama’s most well-known golf courses recently received a facelift. The 3,200-acre Pursell Farms resort in Talladega County, has completed a bunker renovation.

Douglas Hustad, managing director of the resort, said golf architect Tripp Davis was commissioned to “infuse fresh visual interest, strategic components, and technical improvements.” It was a major undertaking for the course, which has been ranked the state’s No. 1 all-access golf course for 10 years by Golfweek and as the top course in the state by Golf Advisor.

“We’re passionate about the golf experience for our guests and appreciate the many accolades FarmLinks has received since opening 20 years ago,” Hustad said, adding that Davis “achieved everything we asked, resulting in an enriched, more playable course that’s also easier for our team to maintain.”

“As an avid golfer and artist, I’ve always appreciated the work of golf course architects,” said David Pursell, CEO and co-founder of FarmLinks at Pursell Farms. “As a golf course owner, I’ve been able to see this project go from planning, to routing, to growing in, to final product. I enjoyed their (Tripp Davis and Kyle Downs) thought process and artistry in making sure the new bunkers were visibly appealing, very playable, and easier to maintain.”

“Each and every bunker was its own masterpiece. They both made many trips to the farm to oversee construction, sometimes making improvements mid-stride. Overall, I was extremely pleased with Tripp and Kyle’s hands-on approach. It has really upgraded the golf experience at FarmLinks.”

“The impact of the bunker renovation is huge for our golfers and our team,” said Robert Mitchell, golf course superintendent at Pursell Farms. “It’s already proven itself to be a labor-saving model. The 80 to 100 man-hours we used to spend repairing bunker washouts after a rainstorm is reduced to about 30 with the improved liner and drainage. The new zoysia grass faces also improve costs as we’re not edging or pulling runners as often. Tripp and his team softened the slopes on most of the bunkers which reduced the fried egg lie, and golfers can now walk in and out more easily. Add this to the bunkers being playable faster after rain, and the guest experience is greatly improved. Everyone won.”

“Farm Links at Pursell Farms is simply a special place that also happens to have a great golf course that Dana Fry and David Whelchel built about 20 years ago,” Davis added. “With Escalante Golf partnering with the Pursell’s, we were asked to design and oversee a bunker renovation to replace the old structure and make the bunkers as strategic and as visually interesting as possible. Working with everyone at Escalante, David Pursell, Robert Mitchell, and builder Bobby Holmes, Kyle Downs and I had a great team and we could not be prouder of the results to give this great course another element to make it fun to play and simply to look at. It was an honor for us and I can’t wait to get back and play it for the first time soon. As much as anything, I am looking forward to staying either at their Inn or in one of their great cottages. We worked hard but the whole place made it relaxing at the same time.”

Pursell Farms Playing Experience

When an invitation was extended to me to be one of the first to experience the new bunkers I couldn’t say yes fast enough. As long as I didn’t have to experience all of the bunkers, I was ready to go.

In typical fashion, it didn’t take me long to find my first bunker. However, the lie I was expecting is not what I found. The Tour Angle pristine white bunker sand prevented my ball from burying in the sand for the dreaded fried egg. Instead, I found that my ball had rolled back down to the bottom of the bunker and left me with a very playable shot from the green side bunker.

For the rest of the round, I was fortunate and managed to avoid most, but not all, bunkers. I will say, however, that all the bunkers I played from were very forgiving. While some did have some steep walls, none of my bunker balls were difficult to play and the bunkers were easy to access.

David Pursell and The Farm

After the round I had the opportunity to visit with David Pursell at Old Tom’s Pub, in what he described as his original office location. (How good was that office?)

To hear him talk about the course and The Farm, you get a complete understanding of his passion for this place. This is not just a job but his life and he wants to make it special for all who visit. The million dollar bunker project was just one project to create a better experience for the golfers. Other projects are in the planning stages. In fact, one project, according to David “it’s big, it’s really big, nothing else like it in the country.” That is all he would say about it, but if it’s really big, I’m sure it will be a game changer to what is already one of the best resort experiences in the country.

If you have never been to “The Farm”, you need to go (soon). Every guest that steps foot onto The Farm is treated “The Pursell Way” with true Southern Hospitality. While “ma’am” and “sir” are engrained in their southern vocabulary, The Pursell Way believes good manners and politeness go much deeper than a few spoken courtesy titles and begins with respect for every guest. You will be greeted with a warm smile by all employees, not because they are told to do so, but because they are genuinely delighted that you have chosen Pursell Farms above any other resort, restaurant or golf course.

About the Author: Alan Darty

Alan is the founder and publisher of eSouthernGOLF.com. A second generation Florida native who loves all things Florida. When he's not spending his time golfing, hunting or fishing you can usually find him with his wife watching their daughters coaching volleyball.