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
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!
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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……..
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!
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.