The European Tour returns this week to Royal Greens G&CC, King Abdullah Economic City, Saudi Arabia for the Saudi International powered by SBIA.
The course designed by European Golf Design plays to a par of 70 and a length of 7010 yards. The golf course is characterised by beautifully manicured playing surfaces, enhanced by the creation of wadi & lake features and colourful and maintained native landscaped areas. Regular shaped bunkers, set within the manicured grassed areas, contrasts with freeform desert waste bunker edges. The creation of bold contouring, contrasting with the odd subtlety and ‘imperfection’, not only creates intrigue, but also ties all golf course features seamlessly into the neighbouring leisure facilities.
Inspired by the surrounding Saudi Arabian desert landscape, numerous wadi features, which meander through the golf site, play a significant strategic & functional role on numerous holes. These features help to alleviate storm drainage from both the golf course and adjacent residential neighbourhoods and each wadi terminates in one of the four salt water lakes, all of which have been created for strategic challenge, aesthetic enhancement and habitat creation. As well as enhancing the course’s visual appeal and challenge, these ‘drainage’ features, along with the spectacular views of the Red Sea, will further characterise the course setting and compliment the perfectly manicured green, tee & fairway edges.
Complimenting the golf course is a premium golf academy featuring a state-of-the-art teaching facility with extensive practice areas including a full length driving range with swing studios, as well as extensive putting, chipping and bunkers greens complexes. The Academy will open in early 2017, offering instruction and practice facilities including special facilities for women and children to learn the game.
The following images follow the journey in creating the high-end international 18 hole golf course.
January 30 – February 02 Saudi International – Royal Greens, King Abdullah Economic City
The end of January sees The European Tour return to Royal Greens, King Abdullah Economic City for the Saudi International powered by SoftBank Investment Advisers. The course, designed by European Golf Design, boasts panoramic views with the Red Sea coast as the backdrop and is the first European Tour event to be played in Saudi Arabia. Dustin Johnson returns as defending champion.
European Tour Destinations Senior Classic – PGA Catalunya Resort, Girona, Spain
The third edition of the European Tour Destinations Senior Classic will take place from July 12-14 at the home of Spain’s no.1 course, PGA Catalunya Resort, as part of the Stadium Course 20th anniversary celebrations. The Stadium Course design by European Golf Design in association with Ángel Gallardo has hosted three editions of the Open de España and was the setting for European Tour Qualifying School Final Stage for nine consecutive years until 2016. In 2019, the Stadium Course, will host The European Tour Destinations Senior Classic, an event that has been on the Staysure Tour International Schedule since 2016. European Golf Design are currently planning the renovation programme for the Stadium Course.
July 23 -26
Evian Championship – Evian Resort Golf Club
The Evian Championship is one of the 5 major tournaments in Ladies golf, and his held every year on the of the world women’s golf held every year on the French shores of Lake Geneva, at within the Evian Resort Golf Club, in Evian-les-Bains. The 26th edition of The Evian Championship will be held from 23 to 26 July 2020. Having completed the redesign and renovation of the existing course we are now in the process of making changes to the short course at the Evian Academy.
August 27 – 30
Omega European Masters – Crans-sur-Sierre
The Omega European Masters is one of the most prestigious golf competitions and indisputably the most spectacular course on the European Tour schedule. Originally hosted at Golf-Club Crans-sur-Sierre in 1939, this years tournament shall take place from the 27 to 30 August. As in previous years, European Golf Design have been overseeing renovation works through this past winter, with noticeable changes being made to the 2nd and 3rd greens, as well as an enlarging of the putting green.
September 03 – 06 Porsche European Open – Green Eagle North Course
Top stars return in September to Green Eagle in Hamburg for the sixth edition of the Porsche European Open that will be played on the Porsche Nord Course from 3 to 6 September 2020. A delighted Paul Casey was the winner in 2019.
Opened in 1997, the North Course was designed by its owner, Michael Blesch. At 7165 metres, it is one of the longest courses in Europe. During the discussions and negotiations that led to the course being awarded the rights to host the 2017 Porsche European Open, it was agreed that some features of the course needed renovation. A programme of changes was started and completed within seven weeks in the autumn of 2016. This included the redesign and construction of six green complexes, all of the physical work for which was undertaken by the Club’s own staff. Further work is ongoing to improve the course even more prior to future European Tour events.
September 10 – 13
BMW PGA Championship – West Course
Almost needing no introduction, the West Course has featured prominently in the European Tour’s schedule for many years and, as such, is known to golfers and spectators around the world. Originally designed by Harry Colt, the course has been changed several times with over the years, the most recent being in 2009. It would be fair to say that those changes did not meet the approval of either the Members or European Tour players and as a result, plans were put into place to renovate the course during the summer of 2016 to reintroduce style, strategy and enjoyment. Working with Ernie Els and his design associate, Greg Letsche, along with a European Tour Advisory Group, including Paul McGinley, Thomas Bjørn and David Jones, Wentworth’s Director of Courses, Kenny Mackay, and Chief Executive, Stephen Gibson, we were tasked with liaising with each stakeholder to prepare a cohesive plan that addressed all of the stated concerns.
To design an 18 hole golf course in the Pirin Mountains, Bulgaria, in association with Ian Woosnam.
Located close to the Bulgarian Ski resort of Bansko, the resort has been designed to be a year round destination, guests are able to play golf in the summer months and ski during the winter.
Situated in a valley the course has views of snow-covered peaks. Lakes and mountain creeks come into play with greens guarded by towering pine trees. Residential properties, a state of the art academy and clubhouse compliment the golf course.
Designed in association with: Ian Woosnam
Client: Pirin Golf Holiday Club Ltd
Course: 18 Holes
Length: 6210 metres, Par: 72
Pirin Golf & Country Club
Everyone is entitled to an opinion and most of us are quite happy to share the benefit of our own infinite wisdom with anyone that will listen (a case in point…this blog!). So it’s hardly surprising that one of the more regular features in the media is lists of the ‘Top 10 this’ and the ‘Top 100 that’. Many of these lists are so subjective and arbitrary as to be meaningless. However, some of the better ones are put together by Chris Bertram and his colleagues at Golf World UK. Among the requirements for inclusion in their list is the obligation that the members of the panel actually have to have visited the course in question, which is a surprisingly rare necessity in many of the other lists.
With that in mind, we were especially pleased to see how some of our courses had fared in two recent lists published by Golf World. Their list of the Top 100 Golf Resorts in the UK and Ireland features no less than ten courses designed, co-designed or renovated by us, including seven in the top 50. And in the Top 100 Courses in Continental Europe rankings, we have been involved as designer or co-designer at five courses, with another two featuring where we have been involved in renovations.
We don’t do what we do to get included in lists, but can’t help admitting that it is reassuring when our work is recognised by others as having some quality.
It’s not unusual for a few of the projects we are involved with to be hosting tournaments on the professional tours, but this year is pretty unique with nine venues with which we are working staging events on the European Tour, European Senior Tour and LPGA Tour. From Morgado G&CC in Portugal, which is hosting its first ever event, to tour regulars such as Le Golf National, The West Course at Wentworth and Evian Resort, we’re delighted to be involved in each one and will be following the events with interest.
The full list is as follows:
Open de Portugal at Morgado G&CC, Portugal – May 11-14
BMW PGA Championship at The West Course, Wentworth Club, UK – May 25-28
European Tour Properties Senior Classic at Linna Golf, Finland – June 21-23
HNA Open de France at Le Golf National, France – June 29 – July 2
Porsche European Open at Nord Course, Green Eagle Golf, Germany – July 27-30
Omega European Masters at GC Crans-sur-Sierre, Switzerland – September 7-10
Evian Championship at Evian Resort, France – September 14-17
KLM Open at The Dutch, Holland – September 14-17
English Senior Masters at Forest of Arden, UK – October 20-22
On his first full day in the role, everyone at EGD offers their congratulations to Ross McMurray on his election to the Presidency of the European Institute of Golf Course Architects (EIGCA). This is a great honour for Ross and recognises the contribution he has made to his colleagues at the EIGCA and to the wider industry over the last thirty years or so.
We know Ross will perform his new role with his usual quiet diligence, professionalism and competence, and wish him much success over the course of his two-year term. The rumour that he wishes to build a wall around Europe and get Mexico to pay for it is, as far as we can tell, unfounded.
Above: Ross McMurray (right) is congratulated by outgoing President Tom Mackenzie (centre). Christoph Städler (left) takes over from Ross as Vice-President.
My name is Kyle Taggart and I joined the EGD team in July ’14 as construction supervisor at the Dubai Hills Estate golf and residential project in the United Arab Emirates. For the previous 20+ years I have worked in the golf and turf industry in varying capacities, across five different continents and the most extreme climatic opposites conceivable. My passion for the game and hands on experience, teamed with a turfgrass management diploma has led me down this unique career path focused on delivering high quality golf experiences.
Working in the Middle East region isn’t for the faint of heart. Being positioned along the southern coast of the Persian Gulf on the Arabian Peninsula, the weather conditions go from warm to hot to borderline inhumane. I have personally experienced temperatures in the high 50’s, then magnified by stifling humidity. With more than 200 nationalities co-existing in Dubai there is constant language, religious and cultural differences, but in my opinion, this just adds to the allure of the UAE. Security, tolerance, advanced infrastructure and (of course) tax-free income are the main factors attracting the majority of the approximately 7.8 million expats, which equate to more than 85% of the country’s total population.
This is my second ‘tour of duty’ in Dubai, the first being employed in a contractors’ role during construction of Jumeirah Golf Estates. That was a turbulent ride as we witnessed the peaks and valleys of the volatile real estate market before, during and after the global financial collapse in 2008-2009. JGE has hosted the year end DP World Tour Championship since ’09 and there is definitely a sense of achievement to witness the Earth Course manicured in all her glory, elevating the design intent to its fullest. Watching some of the games’ best battle it out in the EPGA’s richest event is a fantastic way to wind up the year.
I consider myself extremely fortunate to have travelled and lived in such a plethora of countries and cultures. You have to accept repeated temporary living arrangements in this profession but I am incredibly fortunate to have seen so much thus far. My global experiences have brought copious amounts of learning along the journey and I wouldn’t trade that for a 9-5, suit and tie job. While working abroad in the golf construction industry can be a love-hate relationship at times, I do not anticipate losing the passion any time soon.
Originally from Powell River, BC, Canada & currently living in ‘The Sandpit’
Last week Gary, Ross, Dave and myself attended the annual EIGCA conference and AGM at the Marine Hotel in North Berwick. It was a great trip that involved golf at North Berwick West Links and Gullane no. 2, courses that attracted golf architects and industry specialists from all over the world. Along with golf and the AGM, a conference day featured guest speakers covering a wide range of topics including ‘Growing the Game’, Flat v’s Undulating Greens’ and ‘Rating GB&I’s Top 100 Courses’.
For many reasons it’s probably best I don’t go into details about the golf, congratulations to Paul Kimber and Niall Glen though who picked up first and second prize in the President’s Cup respectively. The prizes were awarded at the President’s dinner which also saw Peter Fjällman hand over to Tom Mackenzie.
Thank you to all at the EIGCA for organising the event, their industry partners who make it all possible and North Berwick and Gullane Golf Club for making us most welcome. We are looking forward to next year already!