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.

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 for more information. Also look at the American Society of Golf Course Architects website

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

– Golf Course Architure –

– Look out for seminars, exhibitions and golf shows.

My Top 5 Worst Golf Shots

When thinking about a blog to write I thought this top 5 may be entertaining. After a lot of editing I finally got the list down to 5 shots. This doesn’t include countless air shots when I was learning this annoying game! Worryingly most of my list comes from the last couple of years.

5. Carton House, The Montgomerie – 18th (2008)
A putt that I have already mentioned in a blog. Needing to sink it to halve the match against Will and Gary, I left a 20 foot downhill putt 3 foot short. In my first blog I said that I didn’t think that Dave had forgiven me after couple of weeks, a year on now and I think that he is still slightly bitter!

4. Gulllane no. 1 – 1st (2007)
Having stood on the first tee, in front of a few people and hit a nice 3 iron in the middle of the fairway in to a ferocious wind, I was feeling pretty confident over my approach shot to the green. I was trying to hit a punchy 6 iron, however, I managed to hit a low shank into the rough on the right, leading to a double bogey at the first. This form continued and I finished the round with 23 points. Having dished out around £80 for the pleasure, it’s fair to say that I was not pleased walking off the final green.

3. Epsom Golf Club – 6th (1994)
Anyone who has played the 6th (now the 11th) at Epsom will know that the road is a little close on the left hand side. When I was 13 I hit a big hook that landed on the bonnet of a Gold 1981 Ford Cortina. The owner was obviously not happy shouting “YOU LITTLE S**T! THERE ARE NO MARKS AND YOU WANT TO THANK YOUR LUCKY STARS FOR THE IMMACULATE PAINTWORK ON THIS BEAUTY!” A quote that I will never forget.

2. Casa Serena – 18th (2008)
Again one of my worst shots comes in an EGD match on an EGD course. We were on the 18th, Robin and I one down to Dave and Will. Having hit a good tee shot and the others struggling, it seemed a par 5 would be good enough to win the hole and halve the match. Taking a 6 iron for safety, I hit it high and left into the deep rough never to be seen again. Needless to say Rob and I lost the match.

1. Epsom Golf Club – 16th (2007)
The 16th hole at Epsom is fairly unique. A 288 yard par 4, down a narrow fairway with lots of trouble on the left. This particular day I decided to hit an 8 iron off the tee for safety, because it’s all downhill this would normally leave a pitching wedge to the green. Sounds simple. On this occasion however I thin shanked the shot, at this point, a pigeon was unfortunate enough to be flying across the flight path, not of a US airlines plane, but my Titleist 2. The ball struck the bird directly on the side of the head killing it instantly. Who needs a shot gun?

2008 – A Great Year for EGD

– 2008 was a great year for European Golf Design with 4 new high profile courses opening.

September 2008 – Casa Serena in the Czech Republic opened and hosted the Casa Serena Open on the European Senior Tour. The event was won by 2 time major winner Bernhard Langer.

October 2008 – The Montgomerie at Papillon Golf Club in Turkey was officially opened by Ryder Cup legend and 8 times European No.1, Colin Montgomerie.

November 2008 – The Montgomerie at Riffa Views in Bahrain opened and hosted the Riffa Views Invitational skins and was won by 2 time major winner Retief Goosen.

November 2008 – Euphoria Golf Estate Hydro in South Africa was officially opened by the greatest lady golfer of all time, Annika Sorenstam.

– Our courses also hosted the following events on the European Tour and Ladies European Tour:

April 08 – Panoramica Golf & Country Club in Spain hosted the Open de Espana Femenino on the Ladies European Tour.

May 08 – The Twenty Ten course at Celtic Manor plays host to the Celtic Manor Wales Open.

May 08 – The Challenge Tour visit Marriott Worsley Park Hotel & Country Club, England for the Oceanico Developments Pro-Am Challenge.

July 08 – Portmarnock Hotel & Golf Links who will play host to the AIB Ladies Irish Open.

September 08 – The European Tour Qualifying School takes place at Fleesensee Golf Club in Germany.

October 08 – The Challenge Tour return to San Domenico in Italy for the Challenge Tour Finale.

November 08 – PGA Golf De Catalunya in Spain hosts the European Tour Final Qualifying School.

Golfing Memories…

Golf has played a major part in my life. I grew up surrounded by golf, a 3 wood from Wentworth. My Dad played golf, talked golf, ate golf. All boyfriends I had whilst growing up played golf. I have spent over twenty years working in and around golf. My best friend and I met through golf. I met my husband on a golf course, he played golf, talked golf, worked in golf. My 11yr old son has now caught the bug. There is no escape from the game. I did catch the bug for a short while in my late teens and early twenties, but I think that had more to do with the assistant golf professionals at my club rather than the game itself. At my peak I played off 18, and when the sun is shinning, you’re not wearing five layers of clothes, and you’re playing with good friends and family then I do see how you can catch the bug.

Over the years I have worked at numerous golf clubs, organising corporate events. I’ve walked miles caddying for boyfriends playing the amateur circuit throughout the UK. I’ve walked hundreds of fairways with girlfriends in my “golf groupie” years (I’m saving those stories for my memoirs), hours spent on practice grounds watching a golfer, father, husband or son practising. There has been no escape, but I have loved it and still do love the game. I’ve listed my top ten courses, not for their deep revetted bunkers, rolling fairways etc etc but for their memories.

Wentworth East and West – grew up here, riding my bike over the course, caddying for my Dad (a treat was to hold the flag) and later playing many rounds with my best friend, who always beat me but we always had a lot of laughs.

Hours spent walking round the West Course watching tournaments from the Picadilly World Matchplay through to the BMW. Groupie days at their best.

St Andrews – first visited St Andrews on a very wet grey day and loved it. Never played the course but great memories of the 2000 Open.

Kingsdown and Walmer/Royal Cinque Ports – EGD Christmas do a few years ago. December on the Kent coast, frozen, but the sun shone and a lot of laughs. Never been so tired after two rounds of golf.

Goodwood – hours spent in the clubhouse waiting for my husband to finish playing golf. Very very hilly but the most amazing views on a sunny day across the Sussex countryside and English channel.

Gleneagles – spent a week here with my best friend for her 40th, played the Kings and Queens. Never laughed so much on a golf course, especially when Stephen Hendry constantly drove into us (you had to be there).

Royal Lytham– Coldest I’ve ever been on a golf course, caddying in the Lytham Trophy, 10 layers of clothing, but loved it.

Haggs Castle – the only time I outdrove my best friend.

West Sussex – Best golf club food ever.

The Belfry – Ryder Cup 1985. Was on the bridge by 18th green when Torrance holed the putt, amazing atmosphere.

Sunningdale Ladies – takes 2 hours to play, 2 mins from home. My type of course until by 11yr old son beat me recently. Time to retire.

Helping Hand

My name is Michael McIntyre I am going into my second year as a student at Manchester Metropolitan University. I am currently studying Landscape Architecture and then plan to take a further course in Golf Course Design after completing my 3 years at Manchester University.

I first worked at European Golf Design during my School Work Experience week when I was 15 and I then worked for an extra week in the School Summer holidays. I am now 19 and this is the third time I have been given the great opportunity to return to EGD to gain more experience within Golf Course Design.

The people at EGD are very friendly and have welcomed me into the company as one of the team. When I arrived on Monday last week I met Gary who gave me my first task which was to write the text for a course planner on a Golf Course in Bulgaria. This was very interesting but at the same time quite challenging as I had to vary the text ensuring that for each hole I gave, in my opinion the best way the golfer should play the hole. I then went onto work out the stoke indexes, Gary and I worked on this together and put the 18 holes in order of hardest to easiest, this gave us the stoke indexes for the course.

I was impressed with the changes in the office, with a large flat screen TV and comfy sofas, giving me absolute comfort when watching the Olympics with the colleagues. Surprisingly they still continue their lunch time habit of a trip down to Waitrose and I was soon to follow in their footsteps, however everyone did look forward to pizza Friday which was understandable after a week of Waitrose and healthy eating.

I then went onto produce some photo montages on a prospective job. The purpose of these is to try and show what alterations we could make to certain holes on the course to improve them aesthetically and strategically. I produced three montages for the Designers to look at. They gave me their comments on how I could improve on my ideas ie. the shape of a bunker. I made some adjustments and printed off the photo montages.

At the end of my first week I began to work on the strategic design on a layout adding two 9 holes to an existing 9 holes. The routing plan has been laid out and I will be continuing to come up with the more detailed plans throughout next week.

I have really enjoyed my first week at EGD and in just a short space of time have already begun to learn a lot more about Golf Course Design. I am looking forward to carrying out my next challenging tasks during week two however I am unsure what we’ll be watching now the Olympics has finished, the office will be in despair.

EGD Trip to Casa Serena

On Friday of last week, Dave, Alex and I were lucky enough to take advantage of Robin’s very kind offer of visiting the recently opened Casa Serena course that he designed near Prague. The course is currently being prepared for it’s first tournament, a European Senior Tour event – The Casa Serena Open on 5th to 7th September.

We arrived at Casa Serena at 8pm on Thursday evening with just enough light for Robin to give us a quick guide to the course that we’d be playing the next day. Our initial concern was the brutal rough that encompasses each hole. We were all struck by the joy of the landscape and beautiful scenery that the course is set within.

After an evening with Stuart Burridge (the Head Greenkeeper) in the local town, Kutna Hora we awoke to be spoilt in having the course completely to ourselves. We threw the balls up and began our round (incidentally, I’d torn my calf muscle a week ago playing football and after a late Paula Radcliffe fitness test it was obvious with a lot of office pride running on the match, Dave wasn’t completely overawed at his luck of having me as his playing partner).

As the game went on, the rough was as brutal as we’d imagined with quite a few provisional balls being struck but the course was a joy to play and I particularly loved the shaping of the fairways. During the round, I noted a designer who is fully aware of the hazards he’s set out, isn’t immune from them. I also came to the conclusion Dave’s become the barometer or acid test for each designer at EGD as he’s always encouraged with his immense length to attempt to drive a short par 4 or to take on a long carry. Being his playing partner this can be rather stressful when he misfires but when he’s successful it’s thoroughly enjoyable.

On the 18th Hole, Alex retained his 100% losing streak on EGD courses as Dave and I were the winners of a tightly contested match, winning two up. It was apparent Robin was slightly frustrated at losing on the course he’d designed but with ever reason extremely proud to show it off to his fellow work colleagues (possibly the biggest critics).

On a final note, I have to mention my delight with Terminal 5 at Heathrow, especially after experiencing the speed and diligence of BA staff in retrieving the office camera (that has become the most popular toy here since the putting machine) I’d left on the plane. It would have been a long Monday explaining that one.