The European Tour’s 3 Hole Design competition has been won by Dylan Emms after the 11 year old’s final three hole submission was judged the best of more than 500 entries by European Golf Design, the European Tour’s golf course design company.
The challenge was to design three holes on an actual site plan being worked on by European Golf Design, to conjure up a dramatic stretch of three strategic and creative golf holes, where the total par for these three holes must be 11 or more. The routing could start from any one of three greens already on the plan, with the 18th finishing in front of the clubhouse.
Various different judging criteria were used. Had the design matched the brief, how well did the scheme fit within the landscape, did it continue the design style outlined on other holes and where the 18th green was located, were all important elements, as were golf strategy, scale and playability.
Dylan, who plays off a handicap of 28 at Styal Golf Club in Cheshire, England, designed the closing stretch featuring a risk-reward par 5, a tough par three and challenging final hole to a three-tiered green.
“I’m very passionate about designing courses and this was a great opportunity to show everybody what I could do,” explained Dylan.
“There were three points we could start from so I did one design from each and then chose the best route and worked on that design. I like holes that are very challenging but still give an opportunity for a good score.
“The 16th is a risk and reward par five, the 17th a par three with trouble up around the green and the 18th climbs up the hill to a dramatic three-tier green.”
The Winning Design
Dylan has been playing since the age of five, already has two holes-in-one to his name and regularly sketches and designs golf holes when he is not playing. Among the submissions he beat was one from his own Dad!
The 3 Hole design competition was supported by European Tour Destinations with the winning prize a game at a European Tour Destination of his choice. While he earned the bragging rights over his Dad on the design, he has agreed to take him to play the iconic Le Golf National in France, host venue of the 2018 Ryder Cup.
“I watched the Ryder Cup on TV and really liked the tough finishing holes with all the water and island greens so it will be great to play there,” said Dylan.
The competition brief was to design a ‘final three hole stretch’, using any one of the three green locations for the 15th green and finishing in front of a clubhouse located on the eastern side of the site. The three holes needed to present an exciting and dramatic conclusion to a tournament course but while the holes needed to challenge the best players they also needed to be playable for the average golfer.
Jeremy Slessor, European Golf Design’s Managing Director commented: “We were blown away by the number of entries and the quality. Many entrants clearly put a huge amount of time and effort into their submissions and I want to thank everyone who took part. I would particularly like to highlight the submissions we received from Rob McLean, Christopher Jordan, Trevor Hansen and Emmet O’Sullivan, all of whom clearly put in a massive effort. It’s been an incredibly tough task to select a winner.”
The judging panel finally agreed on a top three of Rob McLean, Dylan Emms and David Minogue and it was interesting that all three submissions treated the routing and strategy of their golf holes in a similar way.
Jeremy continued: “It was a real toss-up between these final three but, in the end, we felt there was one person who just stood out a little more when we took all the factors into consideration. I am delighted to say that our winner is Dylan Emms. What marks Dylan out is that he is only 11 years old. We were going through the entries and Dylan’s kept going through to the next round and we were thinking, this guy’s so young but he’s here competing against all these other entries, even some from experienced golf course designers. We felt we needed to keep that in mind when he reached the top three and I hope everyone is as impressed as we were with his design submission”.
“Our congratulations go to our three finalists, but especially to Dylan. I know from the reaction we received just how many people have enjoyed having the chance to create their own golf hole designs and hopefully we can do it again sometime soon.”