Dylan Emms Wins 3 Hole Design Competition

The European Tour’s 3 Hole Design competition has been won by Dylan Emms after the 11 year old’s final three hole submission was judged the best of more than 500 entries by European Golf Design, the European Tour’s golf course design company.

The challenge was to design three holes on an actual site plan being worked on by European Golf Design, to conjure up a dramatic stretch of three strategic and creative golf holes, where the total par for these three holes must be 11 or more. The routing could start from any one of three greens already on the plan, with the 18th finishing in front of the clubhouse.

Various different judging criteria were used. Had the design matched the brief, how well did the scheme fit within the landscape, did it continue the design style outlined on other holes and where the 18th green was located, were all important elements, as were golf strategy, scale and playability.

Dylan, who plays off a handicap of 28 at Styal Golf Club in Cheshire, England, designed the closing stretch featuring a risk-reward par 5, a tough par three and challenging final hole to a three-tiered green.

“I’m very passionate about designing courses and this was a great opportunity to show everybody what I could do,” explained Dylan.

“There were three points we could start from so I did one design from each and then chose the best route and worked on that design. I like holes that are very challenging but still give an opportunity for a good score.

“The 16th is a risk and reward par five, the 17th a par three with trouble up around the green and the 18th climbs up the hill to a dramatic three-tier green.”

The Winning Design

Dylan has been playing since the age of five, already has two holes-in-one to his name and regularly sketches and designs golf holes when he is not playing. Among the submissions he beat was one from his own Dad!

The 3 Hole design competition was supported by European Tour Destinations with the winning prize a game at a European Tour Destination of his choice. While he earned the bragging rights over his Dad on the design, he has agreed to take him to play the iconic Le Golf National in France, host venue of the 2018 Ryder Cup.

“I watched the Ryder Cup on TV and really liked the tough finishing holes with all the water and island greens so it will be great to play there,” said Dylan.

The competition brief was to design a ‘final three hole stretch’, using any one of the three green locations for the 15th green and finishing in front of a clubhouse located on the eastern side of the site. The three holes needed to present an exciting and dramatic conclusion to a tournament course but while the holes needed to challenge the best players they also needed to be playable for the average golfer.

Jeremy Slessor, European Golf Design’s Managing Director commented: “We were blown away by the number of entries and the quality. Many entrants clearly put a huge amount of time and effort into their submissions and I want to thank everyone who took part. I would particularly like to highlight the submissions we received from Rob McLean, Christopher Jordan, Trevor Hansen and Emmet O’Sullivan, all of whom clearly put in a massive effort. It’s been an incredibly tough task to select a winner.”

The judging panel finally agreed on a top three of Rob McLean, Dylan Emms and David Minogue and it was interesting that all three submissions treated the routing and strategy of their golf holes in a similar way.

Jeremy continued: “It was a real toss-up between these final three but, in the end, we felt there was one person who just stood out a little more when we took all the factors into consideration. I am delighted to say that our winner is Dylan Emms. What marks Dylan out is that he is only 11 years old. We were going through the entries and Dylan’s kept going through to the next round and we were thinking, this guy’s so young but he’s here competing against all these other entries, even some from experienced golf course designers. We felt we needed to keep that in mind when he reached the top three and I hope everyone is as impressed as we were with his design submission”.

“Our congratulations go to our three finalists, but especially to Dylan. I know from the reaction we received just how many people have enjoyed having the chance to create their own golf hole designs and hopefully we can do it again sometime soon.”

Q&A with EGD Golf Course Designer Dave Sampson

With only hours left until we announce the winner of the Design-3-Holes competition we have been running for the past month or so in association with The European Tour and European Tour Destinations, our thoughts cast back to the last time we did something similar.

Back in 2002, Golf World magazine asked us to run a Design A Hole competition. The site chosen was on an actual project and the prize was that the winning entry would be built as part of that project. The winner was a young Englishman, living at the time in South Africa. So impressed we were with his design, and the time we subsequently spent with him during the construction of the hole (which, by the way, became the 15th hole at Linna Golf in Finland), that eventually we offered him a job. Sixteen years later, he’s still with us – and still producing outstanding designs.


Above: The hundreds of entries to the Golf World Design A Hole competition.

Above: The completed 15th Hole at Linna Golf in Finland.

Meet Dave Sampson.

Where were you when you saw the competition in Golf World?
I was over in the UK from South Africa to see my family. I had a friend in London and stayed with him the night before my flight back home. He had a copy of the magazine – in the few hours I had between seeing the magazine and getting on my flight to Johannesburg, I sketched out six different designs, posting them from the departure lounge at Heathrow. A few weeks later, I got a call to say I’d won the competition!

What happened then?
Well, I’d already decided to come back to the UK as soon as my studies were completed. At the time, I was studying for a degree in architecture and just had my thesis to complete. Shortly after that was presented, I travelled back to the UK and got a job as a cricket analyst with Surrey County Cricket Club.

My dad introduced my brother and I to all sports. Winter was golf season, cricket was in the summer. In between we played and watched everything else. I was a pretty handy cricketer (although it has been said that I was the less talented brother at that) but golf was my real passion. I started playing at about the age of nine, and almost from the first moment was drawing golf holes on anything I could find around the house. I pretty much knew from twelve years old that I wanted to design golf courses for a living – almost any car journey in South Africa is a long one given the vastness of the country and my time sat in a car would be spent looking at the landscape we were driving through, imagining holes here and there.

Although I ended up studying building architecture, I started my university career in landscape architecture and only changed when, mid-course, I moved between universities to be nearer to my at-the-time girlfriend. That relationship didn’t last, and nor did my relationship with building architecture, but I did meet my wife, Stacey, there so it was ultimately a great decision to relocate. We’ve now been married thirteen years and have a seven year old son, Michael.

What drives you to continue to excel at what you do?
I love the process. I love the thinking that goes behind unlocking the routing on a particular bit of ground – if you get the routing right, you’re half-way there. I love thinking at both micro and macro levels and how one element of design relates to another. I love the transition from design into construction. I love coming up with something new, something unique.

What do you like to do when you’re not working?
I play as much golf as I can, which is not very much unfortunately. I run and I watch sport on TV fanatically. What I have enjoyed the most about the lockdown over the past couple of months is spending time with Stacey and Michael. The traveling that we do means I am away from home for much of the time, so to be able to spend uninterrupted time with them has been an amazing experience.

What three things that you own say the most about you as a person?
1. My golf clubs – golf and sport are my passions
2. I have this small ‘wooden’ trophy of the 15th hole at Linna. Everyone asks what it is and so I get to tell my story
3. I asked Stacey if I should say my wedding ring, but she said my iPad (go figure…haha)- in her words, it’s pretty much an extension of me (nearly all of the time with sport on it)

Above: Dave with his wife Stacey and son Michael at the Evian Royal Resort, Dave undertook the redesign and renovation of the existing course in preparation for the 5th Major on the LPGA tour, The Evian Championship, in 2013.

3 Hole Design Challenge

Think golf course design is easy? Now here’s your chance to prove it!

With no European Tour tournaments taking place at this time as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, why not take out those golf frustrations by designing some holes in our 3 Hole Design Competition, sponsored by European Tour Destinations.

THE SITE
The Site – This is a real site and forms part of an 18 hole European Golf Design project, however the Clubhouse location given is fictitious.

1. There are approximately 12 hectares (30 acres) of ‘usable’ space.

2. The site is generally undulating, with some steeper slopes and softer valleys, and you are to assume that it also free draining. The survey shows contours in one metre intervals.

3. It has numerous mature trees which need to be retained; these are shown in green on the plan.

THE BRIEF
1. Design three strategic and creative golf holes, where the total par for these three holes must be 11 or more. The holes can be of whatever length you like.

2. You are to use any ONE of the three green locations labelled A / B / C , as ‘your’ 15th green. The challenge is to design your ‘final three hole stretch’, with the 18th green to be located in front of a clubhouse located on the eastern side of the site. The three holes should present an exciting and dramatic conclusion to a tournament course, but remember, while the holes will need to challenge the best players they should also be playable for the average golfer.

3. Design plans can be submitted as either computer drawn or freehand, and you can show as much detail as you would like.

THE DETAILS
All entries are to be submitted by email in either pdf or jpeg format.

Entries are to be submitted to enquiries@egd.com

The closing date for entries is 1700 BST on Monday 18 May.

Entries will be judged by European Golf Design, the Design Company of The European Tour and IMG.

A winner will be announced across European Tour social media platforms.

The winner will receive a four-ball tee time of his or her choice at any European Tour Destination venue.

CLICK TO DOWNLOAD ENTRY FORM

A Titanic Renovation

While many of us are still getting used to the new normal of having to work from home it was a bit of sweet relief to hear that the major overhaul of Titanic Golf Club in Belek, Turkey commenced last week. Originally planned to start in September to minimise disruption during the main tourist season the temporary closure of the surrounding hotels and golf courses has allowed the construction to be brought forward.

The driving force behind the work was the construction of a new resort hotel which impacted several of the existing golf holes but the addition of some extra land along the coast and the re-routing of a portion of the existing golf course enabled the golf resort to be extended from 27 to 36 holes.

The two 18 hole layouts will vary slightly in length with a 6,000y academy course and a more challenging 6,600y golf course, however, the four nine-hole loops, that all return to the clubhouse, will be interchangeable to help ease golf course operations during the busier months.

The new golf will retain many of the lakes and water features of the original layout but wider fairways and new bunkering should significantly improve the playability.

The construction work is being carried out by Turkish Construction company Golf Tek and will be the fifth project that they have built with us. Construction is due to take 18 months but a phased opening will see the first new golf holes being open for play in late 2020.

Tor Mastorta Project Update

EGD has been commissioned to provide design services for a new 18-hole golf course, as part of the proposed Tor Mastorta resort development, some 20 kilometres to the north-east of the centre of Rome, Italy.

The project site sits upon an open, downland-style, agricultural site, with superb views to the north-east towards the historic town of Tivoli and the beautiful Sabine Hills. The project involves the restoration of the dilapidated Tor Mastorta villa as the new golf clubhouse, with new resort hotel buildings and residential annexes bordering the golf course. The project site is set within an area of archaeological significance, which necessitates a layout with minimal earthworks. The open, rolling terrain provides significant elevation changes and challenges in locating tees and greens at as close to natural grades as possible. The course will be a true exponent of the ‘minimalist’ school of golf course architecture.

Early layout planning has been completed, with a golf course in the region of 6,000 metres, Par 72 having been achieved.

Our EGD ‘newbie’

Tom Kelly

Our Design Associate and CAD supremo, Tom Kelly is our having only been with us for a little over two years (the next newest member of the team has been with us nearly fifteen years). While you may know us through our work, in a series of profiles over the coming months, we aim to give you a little more insight into who we are as individuals.

Tom was born in Nottingham and at the very tender age of three or four years old became captivated with golf, watching with his dad on the TV. Armed with a plastic set of clubs, Tom hacked the family garden to pieces just as over the proceeding years he has hacked many a proper course. After getting his first set of real clubs, he joined Radcliffe-on-Trent Golf Club, where he learned his trademark power push-fade and wild, oh-so-unbelievably-wild, duck hook.

It was while in his final year of his Masters degree course in Mechanical and Materials Engineering at the University of Birmingham that he realised, having spent a summer watching metal corrode as part of an investigation into new coatings for aluminium parts used in the aeronautical world, that he needed a change in direction and, with golf being his passion, further realised to his amazement that designing golf courses was an actual job!

Following graduation, and hoping to put off real work for a while longer, Tom took a gap year, travelling extensively throughout South America, New Zealand and, inevitably, Australia, where by chance he managed to persuade the good folk at Michael Clayton Golf Design to give him a job on a maintenance and construction crew on some of their projects. Clearly undeterred by that experience, Tom returned to the UK and eventually landed a job with MJ Abbott, the renowned golf course contractor, where he was to stay for six years as a CAD Technician and Surveyor.

Tom Kelly

Tom joined us early in 2018 and has been a hugely valuable member of the team ever since. He is currently taking part in the European Institute of Golf Course Architects two-year education programme, which he says is time-consuming, but highly valuable. He also explains that his advice to anyone considering taking the course would be to get as much construction, course maintenance and/or design experience as they can prior to starting the course. He remains a passionate golfer and a member at Liphook Golf Club. When he’s not working, or playing, he enjoys all sports, live music, films and would like to see a bit more of the world. His favourite possessions are a Scotty Cameron putter, which exemplifies his interest in engineering, sport and art; his music collection and a map showing all the places he’s ever visited which gives him constant reminders of all his experiences.

If he could ‘be’ anything, he would like to be a professional golfer and play in The Masters (there’s no chance of that until the hook is sorted).

New Par 3 course at the Evian Resort Golf Academy

European Golf Design have been working with the Evian Resort for almost 10 years now, and what a pleasure it has been – a client, who year on year strives to grow, evolve and improve their golf offerings, we are honoured for the opportunity to help them on their ambitious journey.

This year their focus turned to the state of the art Golf Academy – an exquisite facility with 180 degree views down over Lac Leman and set above the town of Evian-les-bains. The practice facilities are fantastic, with a double-ended practice range, a large putting green in front of the old Manoir house (which serves as the Clubhouse), and numerous other practice greens to practice all variety of shots. In addition to this, was a 4 hole executive course, and this was where this years changes have taken place.

The brief was to transform the existing course into a 6 hole par 3 course, with the simple instruction being that every hole had to have both the ‘Fun’ and ‘Wow’ factors. To achieve this, we developed a routing which managed to re-utilise all four of the original green sites, with the addition of two new ones. The hole lengths vary from a mere 115m to 165m, with each hole having multiple tees to vary both the lengths and shot angles. We have also managed to incorporate numerous different tee shot offerings – from the drop shot on holes 1 and 4, to the uphill 5th with its semi-blind pin, and the side-slope holes of 3 & 6, variety is in abundance.

Works commenced in the first week of 2020, and all greens, both new and existing, were turfed by early March. The final areas will seeded later on this week, and the new 6 hole par 3 course at the Evian Resort Golf Academy is scheduled to open for play in early June.

The New Normal.

This, for us and many, many millions of people around the world, is the new normal. The office is closed. Construction sites are closed. We are all working from home, trying to do the best we can in less than ideal circumstances….flakey wifi anyone? We’ve had more video conference calls in the past two weeks than we’ve ever had before; trying to get design work out to clients is proving challenging – coordinating a team remotely is not as easy as Microsoft would have you believe – but we are getting work done.

Of course, for a distressingly high number of people, this is going to be life-threatening and our thoughts will be with them, their families and friends as they come to terms with the personal cost of this virus. We are truly grateful that we are all, for now at least, healthy and safe.  To each of you reading this, we hope the same is true.