Founded in 1832, the North Berwick Golf Club in the UK is one of oldest clubs in the world. In fact, you’d have to visit historic St. Andrews to find a club that has enjoyed continuous play on a golf course over the same period or for longer.

To secure the future of the club’s historic West Links course against rising sea levels, decreasing sand deposition, and coastal erosion, North Berwick has instituted a multi-year remedial and preventative measures program. Geotextile bags are at the heart of the plan.

GOLF COURSE PRESERVATION WITH GEOTEXTILE BAGS

The West Links golf course follows the coastline on a north-facing land projection, on the south bank of the Firth of Forth estuary. The banks in this area have been threatened by storm surges and accelerated erosion. A fixed point photography system has been in place since 2014 to monitor the effects of coastal erosion on the dunes.

North Berwick Golf Course erosion photo from NAUE

That photographic record was used in the site feasibility study prior to the appointment of engineering consultancy EnviroCentre to help resolve the coastal threat. Principal Consultant Neil Gordon managed the project design while environmental engineering specialist McGowan Ltd. was brought in to be part of the construction of the sand-based structure that would replace the lost coastline.

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Sand was initially excavated from the dune by McGowan’s installation team and then banked to a natural slope. Lengths of NAUE’s Terrafix® 751 geotextile were then rolled out directly onto the sandy slope prior to installation of the sand-filled geotextile containers.

Terrafix® is a UV-stabilised polypropylene geotextile nonwoven engineered for use in hydraulic applications. It provides exceptional resistance to puncture from point loads.

For the heart of the structure, NAUE Secutex® R601 Soft Rock sand containers were specified.

These large, sand-filled geotextile bags are manufactured from nonwoven, needle-punched Secutex® to provide filter stability and scour protection for the dune structures.

North Berwick Golf Course repair photo from NAUE

A total of 850 individual bags were filled on site with imported sand, machine-sewn to seal the open end, and installed in alternate overlapping courses in a ‘brick bonding’ pattern.

The layered structure was designed to effectively reclaim the land which had been eroded, and to provide protection against future erosion.

To complete the structure, a layer of Secutex® R1201 was wrapped around the sand along the crest of the dune before being covered by a top dressing of sand, at least 1m deep, in preparation for planting Marram Grass to re-establish a natural dune environment.

SECURE, BEAUTIFUL COASTLINES

NAUE geosynthetics are widely used in the construction of coastal erosion control structures and are designed to allow the passage of water in both directions, but filter fine sand particles. This approach provides a highly effective, robust, and economical method of construction and excellent erosion control performance.

The reputation and history of North Berwick’s club and coastal golf course continue to grow with the support of this innovative coastal protection plan that also permits the restoration of natural ecological processes.

Learn more about NAUE’s geosynthetics and engineering expertise at www.naue.com.