Great time at EGD!

Since a very successful cooperation with EGD in the Czech Republic during the design work and construction of Casa Serena, my professional relationship with Robin Hiseman, Jeremy Slessor and whole EGD group has developed into a warm, personal friendship. So, I was very happy to get the opportunity to come back to the office for a week again this year and meet the team. The previous visit was split into two parts, with office work experience and practical exercises on the golf course. As I come from a country without any coastline and where the golf tradition is short by comparison to the UK, my aim was to visit the classical heathland and links courses. This year, I was privileged to visit and play Swinley Forest and Hayling golf clubs, both of which were great playing experiences. I am proud also that my game, so deep in the winter, was good enough for me to shoot 77 at Swinley Forest! The usual match play competition with Robin was enriched with his very valuable golf course architectural observations. Robin´s focus on details, feeling for landscape and good will to share his golf architectural ideas during his work at Casa Serena started up my personal interest in golf course architecture. It has grown in time into a real passion for me. This time, I brought my current design project with me, to be reviewed by both Robin and Gary Johnston. Gary and Robin´s notes on the design strategy and technical details of the grading plan have been very helpful.

I am currently working as a construction manager and site surveyor on golf developments in both the Czech and Slovak Republics. Thanks to my job I have the opportunity to combine my technical construction knowledge with the differing design styles and working methods of the golf architects, notably the quality of the drawings and the attention to detail during the construction site visit. Let me say that the overall quality and professionalism of EGD is top of the class!

My week at EGD went too quickly, unfortunately, but the visit on Sunday, my last day, to the extraordinary Painswick Golf Club was a real cherry on the top of the cake.

I have to thank to everyone at EGD for making me feel very welcome!

Jakub Červenka, Czech Golf Development

Jakub Červenka, Czech Golf Development

Highlight of the Year

2009 is nearly over. New contracts have been signed for courses in Egypt, Holland, Russia, Portugal and Cyprus. Construction is underway in Russia and Holland, and courses completed in Scotland, Greece and Bulgaria. New websites designed for Paul Casey and Colin Montgomerie’s Foundation. Looking back on 2009 here are our own individual highlights:

Jeremy – Can’t limit myself to one highlight of the year; Working at EGD was a highlight. We’ve a great group of people. Each is talented for their respective area of responsibility. Being part of that experience, competency and professionalism is a real pleasure.
Seeing great courses designed by Ross, Stan, Rob, Gary and Dave was a real treat. I’m the lucky one – I get to see what everyone is doing. It’s a fantastically impressive body of work.

Speaking at a number of conferences (US, Denmark, UK, Spain and Amsterdam) this year was very interesting, if only to gauge how we’re doing compared to others in the industry. We’re doing well by comparison.

Stan – Returning to Sporting Club Berlin after several years and catching up with old friends.

Ross – Two things stand out and both from courses we’re working on with Colin Montgomerie. Firstly, working with the shapers at The Dutch trying to create a unique character for the golf course, and secondly the opening for play of Rowallan Castle Golf Club in Scotland.

Shara – Conquering my fear of heights – riding the London Eye at the Christmas Party.

Gary – Finally getting to play on the Old Course at St Andrews and going out in level par – just don’t ask about the back 9!

Matt – 2009 has been a very enjoyable year. Working with our Parent Companies I’ve been lucky enough to be involved with not only some of the World’s best golfers working on player websites but also to have produced tournament graphics for some of the World’s top golfing events. A particular highlight has been the Elizabeth Montgomerie Foundation website and related social media. Being part of Colin Montgomerie’s team helping raising money for those affected by cancer has been a very rewarding experience.

Dave – My highlight has to be the site trips to our project at Zavidovo. We have been very fortunate to have two of the very best shapers building the golf course, and it has been a pleasure and education watching, learning and working with them.

Alex – Seeing a picture one of my plans for Palm City on a sign in Denmark, the size of a house.

Robin – Standing on the proposed 2nd tee of our new project site near Madrid. Having sketched out a routing on the topographic map I thought this hole might turn out quite well when I went to the site to check it out for the first time. However, I wasn’t prepared for just how spectacular this hole could turn out. I got a huge adrenaline rush standing here thinking this could become one of the World’s great par 5’s. Reminded me why I love this career so much.

Sarah – Attending the KPMG Golf Business Forum at Celtic Manor and sharing a mini bus with Arnold Palmer.


Thrill seekers Dave Sampson and Gary Johnston during the EGD Christmas Party

Riffa Views awarded 'Best Golf Real Estate Development'

Riffa Views, in Bahrain has won a 5-star Award for ‘Best Golf Real Estate Development’ at the prestigious CNBC Arabian Property Awards 2009. The award highlights Riffa Views as a leading golf and residential development in a tough economic climate and has helped elevate Bahrain as a residential destination. Since opening this year, the course has hosted a number of prominent tournaments including the Gulf Air International Pro-Captain Challenge and the Middle Eastern Final of the Faldo Series.

The luxury Riffa Views development has over 900 villas built around the acclaimed Montgomerie Course, designed by Colin Montgomerie in association with Robin Hiseman of European Golf Design. Hiseman commented, “We were delighted to hear that Riffa Views has won this prestigious award and feel it is wholly justified for the very high standard of the whole Riffa Views development. The developer was very accommodating in providing us with the space and investment necessary to provide a world class golf course and we expect this to be just the tip of the iceberg with the plaudits that Riffa Views will receive. It’s a great place to live and a fun golf course to play”.

Colin Montgomerie added “The course has all the characteristics to make it one of the top courses in the Middle East. Of all the region’s desert courses that profess to offer a links type experience, we believe that Riffa Views is clearly the most authentic. It is a very classy development and a special layout to play. I’m very proud to have my name attached to it.”


The impressive Montgomerie Golf Course at Riffa Views

Spending a week with European Golf Design

By Charlie Jones

I was very excited to hear the news that on the 16th of November I would start a weeks work experience at European Golf Design. I have always been a keen golfer and I currently work at Dale Hill Golf Club so I was looking forward to seeing the design aspect of the golf industry.

Work experience is normally associated with photocopying paper and filing notes but this definitely was not the case! Monday morning came around quickly and after meeting the team I was put under the wing of Designer, Gary Johnston. My task, design a golf course! I was given a plot of land in Berlin and after getting familiar with the constraints and contours I set to work. I went home that night wishing golf courses only had 17 holes; it was proving a lot more difficult than I anticipated!

By Tuesday morning I had a good outline of where all my holes would be placed so that they were within the boundaries and complimented the land. I decided on an inner and outer loop design, with my front 9 as the outer loop and the back 9 as the inner loop. 

Now that my routing was set it was time to add the design features such as fairways, bunkers and greens. I learnt all about the different types of golf hole such as natural, strategic and penal. I tried to stick to a strategic design so that the golf course could be enjoyed by golfers of all standards. I continued my designing into Tuesday evening and had it ready for a big day on Wednesday, competition day!!!

Gary had informed me on Tuesday night that there would be a competition between me and another work experience student. We had to present 6 finished holes to him and fellow EGD designer Robin Hiseman and talk through all the reasoning behind the holes. Brian, my competitor was an experienced golfer studying golf science so I knew I was up against it! I kept my cards close to my chest and although I was slightly under prepared on technical issues of the course I was quietly confident going into the presentation room. Brian and I competently pitched our 6 holes and awaited a result. However, Like France vs Ireland a controversial decision was to follow! Gary and Rob called a draw! I was initially disappointed but a very worthwhile exercise, giving me a great chance to see how Brian had set about his course and what he’d done differently to me.

The week was going quickly and by Thursday I was on to grading the course. This was a concept I struggled to grasp straight away but Gary remained patient and did his best to show me the way. At this stage you have to focus in on one of your golf holes and add all your slopes, mounds and depressions. I managed to get two holes completed with all the interesting mounds and slopes I wanted whilst taking into account how the drainage would work. It’s easy to have the idea in your head but putting it onto paper for someone else to understand is quite a task!

Friday came around much too quickly for my liking but I had a great time working on my golf course and working here has made me even thirstier to pursue a career in the golf industry.

Lastly I need to say a few thank you’s:

To everyone for making me feel very welcome.
Gary – for teaching me everything I know about golf design
Jeremy – for setting everything up and allowing me to come here!

Charlie

Charlie, hard at work
Charlie hard at work.

2016 Olympic Games!

Following the recent announcements from Jack Nicklaus and Greg Norman, we’d like to formally confirm our availability and desire to design the course for the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil.

Football Mugs and Football Thugs

Football is well represented at EGD; it is often at the heart of a heated discussion especially on a Monday morning.

Starting in the back of the office we have Gary, a Glasgow Rangers fan, I don’t have much to say about Rangers apart from Gary could probably get in that team at the moment. It also helps getting tickets when your uncle is the Chairman!!

Robin and Dave are Spurs Fans. One would be too many. Sleeping Giants? I think they are in a coma. We mustn’t also forget Rob’s first love Halifax Town who languish in the Unibond league.

The Man Utd Mug belongs to Matt, he doesn’t like the diving that has come into the modern game and hates Ronaldo’s greasy hair, he was glad to see the back of him. His Favourite Utd player? I would say Wayne Rooney, of course, the toffees taught him everything that he knows.

Jeremy is a Gooner, he has not forked out for a mug though. Maybe he is not very proud. Or is it us? Maybe we haven’t seen it like Mr Wenger.

Sarah is a part time Liverpool fan, when they lose (quite often this season) she cheers on Fulham. I think she fits in better with the fans in South West London rather than the Merseysiders. She does own a pair of highly one sided Liverpool goggles though.

Shara, as far as I know the only team she supports is the one that her sons James and Sam play in. She is probably the most sensible of all of us.

Ross – he is a Hammer, currently they are in the relegation zone, the team that put them there last week with a win at Upton Park? Everton , that happens to be my team. The Pride of Merseyside.

Stan also likes football, his favourite team? The Chicago Bears. Huh.


Come on you Toffees!

An Afternoon Out

Yesterday Gary, Dave, Rob and Myself were lucky enough to play the Old Course at Sunningdale. After throwing the balls up on the first tee Dave and I were paired together (again). This gave us the chance of some revenge after our defeat at Sunningdale Ladies. Dave started very well and we quickly found ourselves up in the match. We reached the turn 2 ahead. Robin and Gary were still upbeat though after I had given them 2 ‘ooslam’ bits after some sloppy putting on the par 3’s.

After I won a couple of bits back at 13 and 14 Dave and I found ourselves 3 up with 4 to play. However, Robin then made a good 3 at the 15th to keep the match going, I then went missing for the last 3 holes and Dave couldn’t quite hang on despite a great double sandy par at 17, the match ending in a half after some impressive golf from Gary.

I quite like writing these reports, I can skim over a match and not mention the duffs and tops that I hit, the snap hooks that Rob hit and the big push slices that Dave and Gary hit…. oops I just did… sorry chaps!

I should also mention that the course was in great condition, the new bunkering looked great and fits in really well. It was a pleasure to play. A big thanks goes to our Director and Sunningdale member Michael King for organising the game for us. 

Ruchill Community Golf Course

European Golf Design are pleased to announce the official opening of a new inner-city golf course in Glasgow designed by the company in partnership with Colin Montgomerie. Ruchill Community Golf Course has been developed on the site of the original Ruchill Golf Course which was closed by Glasgow City Council because of vandalism in the 1997. The completely new course has been built to provide accessible golf for the local community and in particular to offer golf tuition to juniors. In addition the course will act as a training centre for greenkeepers and club managers. The scheme has been aided by contributions from, amongst others, Sportscotland and The R and A and has the backing of the Scottish Golf Union.

The project received the enthusiastic support of Colin Montgomerie who officially opened the golf course this week.

Ross McMurray, one of the lead architects on the project for EGD said, “We were delighted to be able to assist Colin in the design of the golf course at Ruchill. This was an ambitious project which has taken a number of years to reach fruition, requiring the involvement of a wide range of different organisations working together in partnership. We are sure that this revitalised green space adjacent to the Forth and Clyde Canal will provide a focus for sport and education for the local community as well as a broader opportunity for social integration. There are few, if any, inner city golf projects of this kind in the UK but hopefully it will provide youngsters with a unique chance to develop an interest in golf which will last a life time.”

EGD Courses on Tour

This week two EGD courses stage tournaments on the European Tour.

The Seniors Tour travel to Casa Serena in the Czech Republic for the Casa Serena Seniors Open, the second year the tournament has been held. Won in 2008 by Bernhard Langer, his maiden Senior Tour win, Langer’s title defence could face a stern test from two fellow former Ryder Cup Captains in Sam Torrance and Woosnam, who are locked in a battle at the top of the Order of Merit.

Casa Serena Golf Course is the vision of Terry Gou, the chairman of Foxconn, the largest contract manufacturer of electronics worldwide. The course resides deep in the rural Czech countryside, alongside the castle of the same name that Terry Gou bought and refurbished to be his personal European residence. The course is for the use of the executives and guests of Foxconn and opened for play in 2007.

The second course to play host to the European Tour is Ribagolfe in Portugal. The First Qualifying Stage for the European Tour takes place from 15 – 18th September when 51 golfers will attempt to win a place through to the Second Qualifying Stage and ultimately a card on the European Tour.

European Golf Design designed two courses at Ribagolfe, located near Santo Estevao, 30 minutes drive east of the city centre. Ribagolfe 1 with Ex Walker and Ryder Cup golfer Peter Townsend and Ribagolfe II with Ex Walker and Ryder Cup golfer Michael King. Set within a forest of cork oak trees and the design makes full use of the sweeping undulations of the site, providing many spectacular golf holes across valleys and lakes.

Golf in Gullane

I have just arrived back in the office from a long weekend in Scotland. I visited Gullane in East Lothian for a couple of rounds with some of my family, the weather prohibited any more than that, I have never seen so much rain in September, and when it wasn’t raining, I think the term ‘blowing a hoolie’ sums it up. It was our first long drive with the new dog, who behaved much better than Alaina in the car, sleeping most the time.

Alaina and I lost narrowly to my Dad and Brother on the first day on Gullane number 3. A short but not easy course, the pictures not really doing the wind justice. We then got another game in on Gullane number 2, another nice links course with some great views over the Firth of Forth and into Fife. Luckily, I did not lose the second game, My Brothers and Dads nerves getting the better of them.

There is some other news from the weekend, Alaina and I are getting Married. Against the odds she said yes to my question on Friday night. The Picture of her and Mac(the dog) was a few minutes before I asked her……..

  • Alaina and Mac just before I got down on one knee
  • My brother Duncan Hay hits a good one