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

A Day at Wembley

As a toffee I have been starved of trips to Wembley for many years. 1995 was the last time the blue half of Merseyside made the trip. Sunday saw a repeat of that years final.

The day got off to a good start, I managed to convince Alaina (my girlfriend) that a pre game trip to Ikea wasn’t a good idea. After being dropped off at the ground, my brother, his colleagues and I headed in for some food and drink. A few glasses and bets later (most of which were on a first goal scorer!) we headed to our seats for Kick Off. The wine helped with the nerves and seeing a under strength Man Utd team I felt quietly confident. The fans were as loud as I have experienced, my ears are still ringing two days later.

The first half was tight with chances few and far between. Getting to half time with it goalless I felt that Everton would not have better opportunity to get to the Final of the FA Cup for many years to come. The blues started well in the 2nd half and the fans were making themselves heard. Utd slowly took control after 60 minutes or so, Vidic and Ferdinand winning the aerial battle with Evertons 6’3” (6’7” including hair) Fellaini, the Reds were looking the more likely to break the deadlock. Mid way through the second half they were denied a clear penalty and I’ve never seen a man more angry than Alex Ferguson at the moment, his face was a new, undiscovered, shade of red.

With it still goalless after 90 minutes the game headed for extra time. Again not much action, but, Cahill was stopped in his tracks when through on goal having been adjudged to have fouled Vidic, another suspect decision from the ref! A few minutes later the final whistle went and penalties were to decide who would play Chelsea in the final. After Cahills rugby conversion my head was in my hands, however, Berbatov and Ferdinand both missed allowing Phil Jagielka to score the winning spot kick. A blue day it was, The red half of the stadium emptied very quickly!

  • Manchester Utd and Everton coming out onto the pitch before the 2009 FA Cup Semi-Final.

Colin Montgomerie Drops in for a Design Meeting.

Fresh from playing in his 500th European Tour event the week before last, Colin Montgomerie came into the office earlier in the week for a design session for the projects we’re working on with him in Denmark and Egypt. Having discussed the elements of detailed design for the former project, we then went through the progress to date on the initial master planning for the Egypt site.

As well as going through these two projects, we also spent some time talking about our work on the Twenty Ten Course at Celtic Manor, venue for the 2010 Ryder Cup, which Colin visited recently in his capacity as European Team Captain. Colin said he was very impressed with the way the course is maturing, particularly the new holes, and gave special mention to the viewing areas that have been created over the last four holes that will allow the vast majority of the 40,000+ crowd to watch golf over the closing stretch, as well as seeing up to twelve of the other holes during the early stages of play.

Following that, Monty was interviewed by two writers from Bad Halo Golf (www.badhalogolf.com) with whom we are collaborating on a new book to be published later in the summer on golf course design.

  • Colin Montgomerie and designer Robin Hiseman talk about the design of the new Palm City Family & Golf Resort in Denmark.

Designer Profile – Stan Eby

‘Modest’, ‘Dedicated’, ‘Perfectionist’ are all words that describe EGD’s Stan Eby. Known almost as much for his moustache and pony tail as for the quality of his work Stan is the man behind some outstanding golf courses.

A graduate of Iowa State University with a degree in Landscape Architecture, Stan began his golf design career working for the Chicago based firm of Golf Course Architect Dick Nugent (Past President of the American Society of Golf Course Architects). He joined European Golf Design in 1992. His Professional credentials included professional registration of the United States National Landscape Architecture Licensing Board and continuing education certificates in Project Management and Construction Administration from the University of Wisconsin.

PGA de Catalunya in Spain was designed by Stan in association with Neil Coles & Angel Gallardo. The course is recognised as one of the top 100 golf courses in the world not only by the golfing press but also by amatuers and pro’s alike. Golf Monthly recently named PGA de Catalunya No. 3 in ‘Top 20 European Courses’. Shortly after the course opened in 1999 Golf World awarded it the “Best New Course in Europe”. The course rapidly created an impression and was rewarded by hosting the Sarazen World Open and Spanish Open. This year the Open de Espana on the European Tour will visit the course at the end of April.

At Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club, Stan worked with Thomas Bjorn to redesign the course and transform it into a golfers’ paradise. The following year Golf World named the course one of the “Top 100 Golf Courses in the World”.

In association with Nick Faldo, Stan designed the Faldo Course at Sporting Club Berlin. The course opened in the summer of 1996 and played host to the German Open in 1998 and 1999. The course was complimented by many Tour players and Golf World voted it “Best New Course in Europe” in November 2007. Stan went on to design the third course at Sporting Club Berlin and no higher acclaim could be paid to his efforts than when the course was named ‘The Eby Course’.

At Portmarnock Links in Ireland, Stan worked alongside Bernhard Langer. The course is nestled in coastal duneland and was designed in the true tradition of links golf with rolling fairway and unforgiving rough. In 2008 the course hosted the Ladies Irish Open. Golf World has said of the course “it’s tough and uncompromising into the prevailing wind, tricky when the wind is at your back – everything a links course should be”.

With design partner Colin Montgomerie, Stan designed the Montgomerie Course at Carton House. The inland link pays tribute to the traditions of the game with sweeping fairways, cavernous bunkers and impeccable greens and has become a ‘must play’ for golfing enthusiasts.

It has received many top awards including:

– ‘Best Course of 2006’ by the readers of Golf Punk Magazine

– Joint winner of prestigious ‘Committed to Green Award’

– ‘Best New Design of the Year 2004’ Award – Golf World, January 2005

– Ranked 10th in Ireland by US Golfers Digest magazine – April 2005

– Home to the 2005 & 2006 Nissan Irish Open

– Home to the 2004 AIB Irish Amateur Open Championship

Stan’s most recent work is Euphoria Golf Estate Hydro in South Africa which was designed in association with Annika Sorenstam. Set in the beautiful Waterberg mountain range the course has been designed with a serious commitment to the preservation of the indigenous fauna and flora. Already the course has been awarded a Compleat Golfer 5-Star Golf Experience.

Stan’s Favourite things:

Sound: Silence

Colour: Shades of grey

Art: The world of Walt Disney

Golf Course: Whatever is on the drawing board

Book: (latest) Team of Rivals

Movie: Das Boot

Food: Cajun

City: Chicago

Drink: What’s on offer?

Place: ‘In the sun’

Gadget: The delete button

Quote: “I CAN ONLY PLEASE ONE PERSON A DAY AND TODAY AIN’T YOUR DAY (Tomorrow Ain’t Lookin Too Good Either)” Anonymous

Music: The Band

  • Stan on a walk across Chobham Common close to the office
  • Stan with Colin Montgomerie during construction at The Montgomerie Course, Carton House, Ireland
  • Stan at his drawing board in Sunningdale
  • Stan with Annika Sorenstam during a press conference at Euphoria Golf Estaste Hydro in South Africa

New Design Contract at Herdade das Fuezeiras in Portugal

European Golf Design have signed a contract to design a new golf course in Portugal at Herdade das Fuezeiras, a short distance from the city of Evora, about an hours drive east of Lisbon.

The project includes an 18 hole course with practice facilities, a 150 bedroom hotel, a mix of high quality residential units and an equestrian centre in open countryside.

Evora is a UNESCO World heritage site and is capital of the Alentejo region of Portugal. The city centre is beautifully preserved and dates back to Roman times but its unique quality stems from its whitewashed houses decorated with azulejos (ceramic tiles) and wrought-iron balconies dating from the 16th to the 18th century. The buildings had a profound influence on Portuguese architecture in Brazil.

View from the Hotel location at Herdade das Fuzeiras

A Day in the EGD Life of Sarah Casey

8am Drop son at school, do I go to work, get a car park space, cup of tea, gentle start to the day, or go home do some chores then go in at 9am, get in a bad mood as there are no parking spaces left and  get landed with making tea for everyone.  Decide in everyone’s best interest to go in at 8. 

First task of the day, check emails hope there is one from Will, ex employee who emigrated to Australia two weeks ago.

Then Google Monty, Retief and Harrington to see if there is anything newsworthy for their websites. Also check out EGD and golf news in general.

Usually interrupted several times doing this to answer the phone, book flights, order loo paper etc etc. First cup of tea of the day.  At least another six will pass my lips by 5pm.

10am Front door slams open (see previous blog on Michael King)

Mid morning peace restored.  Quick Marketing meeting with Jeremy and Matt, currently putting together a strategy for the year, finalising what we plan to do.

Back to my desk. Working on redesign of EGD brochure so spend rest of morning searching our vast image library for suitable photos.  Find several unsuitable.

12 ish the “boys” set off for their daily pilgrimage to Waitrose.  Sit at desk eating something “diet” to make up for the biscuits I’ve eaten all morning.  Read through the latest golf magazines to see if any articles on EGD courses.

Afternoon.  Put together press release schedule for the year, answer calls from a golf writer keen to do a piece on an EGD course, a photographer calls wanting to go and take pictures of our courses in Turkey.  Send background info, photos etc to conference Jeremy is speaking at in the States, more tea to be drunk, flights to book, bit of office banter. Chase designers for updates on their project for the website.  Write Blog. Write up new project for website. Bit of typing for Stan.

5pm EGD Day over for me, back to my other life, chores, supervising homework, making sure men in my life happy, just like being at work!

Sarah Casey

2011 English Amateur Championship

The Marquess Course and Duchess at Woburn Golf & Country Club will be hosting the 2011 English Amateur Championship.

One of Golf World’s Dream 18 – The 7th on The Marquess Course: 509 yards (par five)

Why should you play it?
It is a stunning ‘should I shouldn’t I?’ hole. It mixes brain and brawn in one theatrical par five. It has become the signature hole of Woburn’s most recently opened course and with good reason. Framed by tall pines, the fairway is split by a narrow stretch of spindly trees and then dips and climbs to the green. Evocative and thoughtful.

Strategy:
If you take the high road and stay left of the trees it will be a genuine three-shotter, but the brave may just want to boom one down the ‘low road’ to the right, The hole will toy with your mind and shot-making ability, as the green is reachable if you are very long and very straight off the tee. Are you brave enough!

European Golf Design's Famous Michael King

EGD Office Sunningdale, 10am, the front door opens and then slams shut, in comes Michael King. Coffee cup in hand, bundles of papers under his arm, and occasionally accompanied by a minute dog called Elvis.

Michael is a Director of EGD. Affectionally known throughout the world of golf and Sunningdale, as Queenie.

Known also for his larger than life personality and colourful dress sense, he certainly adds an extra dimension to the office.

An ex professional golfer, and member of Sunningdale there isn’t a lot Michael doesn’t know about the world of golf. After attending Millfield School, Michael had a successful career in amateur golf, playing at every level, representing England several times. He tied for first place in the Lytham trophy in 1972 and played in the Walker Cup in 1969 and 1973. After a career in the city as a stockbroker he decided to change direction and with a successful amateur golf career behind him he took the plunge to turn pro. He enjoyed success, his finest season being in 1979 when he won the TPC and finished in the top six eight times to earn a place in the 1979 Ryder Cup team. Having never lost his tour card, his golf career was bought to an end in 1987 when he was forced to retire with Spondylitis.

Michael now concentrates his time on design work with EGD, sponsorship for the European Tour and social golf at Sunningdale with great friend Sam Torrance.

Projects he has worked on with EGD include Marriot Worsley Park, Marriot Hollins Hall and Ribagolfe 2 in Portugal.

There is never is a dull moment when Queenie is around.

 Michael King

How to Become a Golf Course Designer

We get many requests from people with diverse backgrounds wanting to get into the industry and become a Golf Course Designer.

What is Golf Course Design: Golf Course Design is golf couse routing & strategy, detail design, drainage, irrigation, turf–grass selection, planning, construction, and environmental considerations.

Being such ‘niche’ profession it can be very difficult to break into and stand out from the crowd

The typical route would be to obtain a degree in Landscape Architecture. This would give a wide brush of skills in design, planning, the environment and plant species.

That being said coming from a design background in Architecture or Civil Engineering is also starting point to go onto further studies or enter the industry (or like both me and Jeremy, we have backgrounds in greenkeeping & construction and degrees in Turfgrass Science).

The European Institute of Golf Course Architects offer a Diploma course in Golf Course Architecture. Visit www.eigca.org for more information. Also look at the American Society of Golf Course Architects website www.asgca.org

We would also advise people to try and get a work placement with a reputable golf design company.

Another route in would be to have CAD (Computer Aided Design) skills in a relevant dispiline and enter at a support level and study while you learn the business from the bottom up.

You can have all the qualifications available but natural ability is also needed when it comes to laying and designing a golf course.

Good reading material:
– The Golf Course: Planning, Design, Construction and Management by F.W. Hawtree

– The Anatomy of a Golf Course: The Art of Golf Architecture by Ben Crenshaw and Tom Doak

– Golf Course Architecture: M Hurzdan

– Routing the Golf Course: Forrest Richardson

– Grounds for Golf: Geoff Shackleford

– Golf Course Design: R M Graves & G Cornish

Magazines:
– Golf Course Architure – www.golfcoursearchitecture.net

Seminars:
– Look out for seminars, exhibitions and golf shows.