EGD has been commissioned to provide design services for a new 18-hole golf course, as part of the proposed Tor Mastorta resort development, some 20 kilometres to the north-east of the centre of Rome, Italy.
The project site sits upon an open, downland-style, agricultural site, with superb views to the north-east towards the historic town of Tivoli and the beautiful Sabine Hills. The project involves the restoration of the dilapidated Tor Mastorta villa as the new golf clubhouse, with new resort hotel buildings and residential annexes bordering the golf course. The project site is set within an area of archaeological significance, which necessitates a layout with minimal earthworks. The open, rolling terrain provides significant elevation changes and challenges in locating tees and greens at as close to natural grades as possible. The course will be a true exponent of the ‘minimalist’ school of golf course architecture.
Early layout planning has been completed, with a golf course in the region of 6,000 metres, Par 72 having been achieved.
Our Design Associate and CAD supremo, Tom Kelly is our having only been with us for a little over two years (the next newest member of the team has been with us nearly fifteen years). While you may know us through our work, in a series of profiles over the coming months, we aim to give you a little more insight into who we are as individuals.
Tom was born in Nottingham and at the very tender age of three or four years old became captivated with golf, watching with his dad on the TV. Armed with a plastic set of clubs, Tom hacked the family garden to pieces just as over the proceeding years he has hacked many a proper course. After getting his first set of real clubs, he joined Radcliffe-on-Trent Golf Club, where he learned his trademark power push-fade and wild, oh-so-unbelievably-wild, duck hook.
It was while in his final year of his Masters degree course in Mechanical and Materials Engineering at the University of Birmingham that he realised, having spent a summer watching metal corrode as part of an investigation into new coatings for aluminium parts used in the aeronautical world, that he needed a change in direction and, with golf being his passion, further realised to his amazement that designing golf courses was an actual job!
Following graduation, and hoping to put off real work for a while longer, Tom took a gap year, travelling extensively throughout South America, New Zealand and, inevitably, Australia, where by chance he managed to persuade the good folk at Michael Clayton Golf Design to give him a job on a maintenance and construction crew on some of their projects. Clearly undeterred by that experience, Tom returned to the UK and eventually landed a job with MJ Abbott, the renowned golf course contractor, where he was to stay for six years as a CAD Technician and Surveyor.
Tom joined us early in 2018 and has been a hugely valuable member of the team ever since. He is currently taking part in the European Institute of Golf Course Architects two-year education programme, which he says is time-consuming, but highly valuable. He also explains that his advice to anyone considering taking the course would be to get as much construction, course maintenance and/or design experience as they can prior to starting the course. He remains a passionate golfer and a member at Liphook Golf Club. When he’s not working, or playing, he enjoys all sports, live music, films and would like to see a bit more of the world. His favourite possessions are a Scotty Cameron putter, which exemplifies his interest in engineering, sport and art; his music collection and a map showing all the places he’s ever visited which gives him constant reminders of all his experiences.
If he could ‘be’ anything, he would like to be a professional golfer and play in The Masters (there’s no chance of that until the hook is sorted).
European Golf Design have been working with the Evian Resort for almost 10 years now, and what a pleasure it has been – a client, who year on year strives to grow, evolve and improve their golf offerings, we are honoured for the opportunity to help them on their ambitious journey.
This year their focus turned to the state of the art Golf Academy – an exquisite facility with 180 degree views down over Lac Leman and set above the town of Evian-les-bains. The practice facilities are fantastic, with a double-ended practice range, a large putting green in front of the old Manoir house (which serves as the Clubhouse), and numerous other practice greens to practice all variety of shots. In addition to this, was a 4 hole executive course, and this was where this years changes have taken place.
The brief was to transform the existing course into a 6 hole par 3 course, with the simple instruction being that every hole had to have both the ‘Fun’ and ‘Wow’ factors. To achieve this, we developed a routing which managed to re-utilise all four of the original green sites, with the addition of two new ones. The hole lengths vary from a mere 115m to 165m, with each hole having multiple tees to vary both the lengths and shot angles. We have also managed to incorporate numerous different tee shot offerings – from the drop shot on holes 1 and 4, to the uphill 5th with its semi-blind pin, and the side-slope holes of 3 & 6, variety is in abundance.
Works commenced in the first week of 2020, and all greens, both new and existing, were turfed by early March. The final areas will seeded later on this week, and the new 6 hole par 3 course at the Evian Resort Golf Academy is scheduled to open for play in early June.
This, for us and many, many millions of people around the world, is the new normal. The office is closed. Construction sites are closed. We are all working from home, trying to do the best we can in less than ideal circumstances….flakey wifi anyone? We’ve had more video conference calls in the past two weeks than we’ve ever had before; trying to get design work out to clients is proving challenging – coordinating a team remotely is not as easy as Microsoft would have you believe – but we are getting work done.
Of course, for a distressingly high number of people, this is going to be life-threatening and our thoughts will be with them, their families and friends as they come to terms with the personal cost of this virus. We are truly grateful that we are all, for now at least, healthy and safe. To each of you reading this, we hope the same is true.
The European Tour returns this week to Royal Greens G&CC, King Abdullah Economic City, Saudi Arabia for the Saudi International powered by SBIA.
The course designed by European Golf Design plays to a par of 70 and a length of 7010 yards. The golf course is characterised by beautifully manicured playing surfaces, enhanced by the creation of wadi & lake features and colourful and maintained native landscaped areas. Regular shaped bunkers, set within the manicured grassed areas, contrasts with freeform desert waste bunker edges. The creation of bold contouring, contrasting with the odd subtlety and ‘imperfection’, not only creates intrigue, but also ties all golf course features seamlessly into the neighbouring leisure facilities.
Inspired by the surrounding Saudi Arabian desert landscape, numerous wadi features, which meander through the golf site, play a significant strategic & functional role on numerous holes. These features help to alleviate storm drainage from both the golf course and adjacent residential neighbourhoods and each wadi terminates in one of the four salt water lakes, all of which have been created for strategic challenge, aesthetic enhancement and habitat creation. As well as enhancing the course’s visual appeal and challenge, these ‘drainage’ features, along with the spectacular views of the Red Sea, will further characterise the course setting and compliment the perfectly manicured green, tee & fairway edges.
Complimenting the golf course is a premium golf academy featuring a state-of-the-art teaching facility with extensive practice areas including a full length driving range with swing studios, as well as extensive putting, chipping and bunkers greens complexes. The Academy will open in early 2017, offering instruction and practice facilities including special facilities for women and children to learn the game.
The following images follow the journey in creating the high-end international 18 hole golf course.
January 30 – February 02 Saudi International – Royal Greens, King Abdullah Economic City
The end of January sees The European Tour return to Royal Greens, King Abdullah Economic City for the Saudi International powered by SoftBank Investment Advisers. The course, designed by European Golf Design, boasts panoramic views with the Red Sea coast as the backdrop and is the first European Tour event to be played in Saudi Arabia. Dustin Johnson returns as defending champion.
European Tour Destinations Senior Classic – PGA Catalunya Resort, Girona, Spain
The third edition of the European Tour Destinations Senior Classic will take place from July 12-14 at the home of Spain’s no.1 course, PGA Catalunya Resort, as part of the Stadium Course 20th anniversary celebrations. The Stadium Course design by European Golf Design in association with Ángel Gallardo has hosted three editions of the Open de España and was the setting for European Tour Qualifying School Final Stage for nine consecutive years until 2016. In 2019, the Stadium Course, will host The European Tour Destinations Senior Classic, an event that has been on the Staysure Tour International Schedule since 2016. European Golf Design are currently planning the renovation programme for the Stadium Course.
July 23 -26
Evian Championship – Evian Resort Golf Club
The Evian Championship is one of the 5 major tournaments in Ladies golf, and his held every year on the of the world women’s golf held every year on the French shores of Lake Geneva, at within the Evian Resort Golf Club, in Evian-les-Bains. The 26th edition of The Evian Championship will be held from 23 to 26 July 2020. Having completed the redesign and renovation of the existing course we are now in the process of making changes to the short course at the Evian Academy.
August 27 – 30
Omega European Masters – Crans-sur-Sierre
The Omega European Masters is one of the most prestigious golf competitions and indisputably the most spectacular course on the European Tour schedule. Originally hosted at Golf-Club Crans-sur-Sierre in 1939, this years tournament shall take place from the 27 to 30 August. As in previous years, European Golf Design have been overseeing renovation works through this past winter, with noticeable changes being made to the 2nd and 3rd greens, as well as an enlarging of the putting green.
September 03 – 06 Porsche European Open – Green Eagle North Course
Top stars return in September to Green Eagle in Hamburg for the sixth edition of the Porsche European Open that will be played on the Porsche Nord Course from 3 to 6 September 2020. A delighted Paul Casey was the winner in 2019.
Opened in 1997, the North Course was designed by its owner, Michael Blesch. At 7165 metres, it is one of the longest courses in Europe. During the discussions and negotiations that led to the course being awarded the rights to host the 2017 Porsche European Open, it was agreed that some features of the course needed renovation. A programme of changes was started and completed within seven weeks in the autumn of 2016. This included the redesign and construction of six green complexes, all of the physical work for which was undertaken by the Club’s own staff. Further work is ongoing to improve the course even more prior to future European Tour events.
September 10 – 13
BMW PGA Championship – West Course
Almost needing no introduction, the West Course has featured prominently in the European Tour’s schedule for many years and, as such, is known to golfers and spectators around the world. Originally designed by Harry Colt, the course has been changed several times with over the years, the most recent being in 2009. It would be fair to say that those changes did not meet the approval of either the Members or European Tour players and as a result, plans were put into place to renovate the course during the summer of 2016 to reintroduce style, strategy and enjoyment. Working with Ernie Els and his design associate, Greg Letsche, along with a European Tour Advisory Group, including Paul McGinley, Thomas Bjørn and David Jones, Wentworth’s Director of Courses, Kenny Mackay, and Chief Executive, Stephen Gibson, we were tasked with liaising with each stakeholder to prepare a cohesive plan that addressed all of the stated concerns.