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    Dubai Hill named ‘World’s Best New Golf Course’ at the prestigious 2019 World Golf Awards

In trepidation !!

Asked by Sarah recently what the highlight of my year at EGD has been I suppose, as Accountant, I should really say things like a successful audit etc…etc.

2009 hasn’t yet finished and I am full of trepidation for part our forthcoming Christmas outing on Wednesday. If I succeed with the mission set…………….that will be my personal highlight of the year. I am hoping the EGD team will help me through it!!

I should start with my experience last year. As part of our Christmas outing we went to Kew Gardens and as part of that, several of the team went on the Tree Top Walk. I didn’t!! In the past I have been o.k. with heights etc. but recently the whole idea has become very scary. O.K I thought be honest, “I don’t like heights – I’ll try”. I got to the first step of the Tree Top Walk and then retreated, hastily.

This year we have another good Christmas outing planned except I am really being tested. As part of the outing Jeremy has booked a trip on the London Eye.

Firstly I have to step into the pod which I fully appreciate is TRANSPARENT I know travels very very SLOWLY, very very HIGH, in a very very ENCLOSED SPACE with ABSOLUTELY NO WAY OUT!! (Please do not expect a tweet from me at this stage).

My personal highlight will be to survive this experience with help from the team (and a large glass of white wine or two once released from the pod).

Riffa Views awarded 'Best Golf Real Estate Development'

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

Golf Course Grass Types

When the majority of golfers play their ball, either from the tee, fairway, rough or green, not many will give a second thought about the hallowed turf beneath them and how it is different from the grass they mow back at home each week. In reality a great deal of consideration is given to ensure the best possible grass varieties are used. Grass selection is based on climate, soil type, water availability and quality and the playing characteristics required by the designer. There are many specialized varieties of turfgrass for golf courses some of which require intensive maintenance and careful cultural practices.

Here are some of the typical grass types found on golf courses.

Bentgrass – A grass often used on golf courses in northern Europe. The bentgrass varieties have many advantages as they can be mowed to a very short height and are ideal for highly-manicured areas such as tees, greens and fairways. There are various types but browntop bents are well adapted for maritime and coastal climates such as in the UK, while creeping bent is commonly used, especially on greens, in both cool and some warm climate regions.

Fescues – A large family of grasses which can be used on all areas of a golf course, most usually in cooler climates. They adapt well to less fertile conditions and although some varieties are appropriate for close mowing they are most often distinguishable as tall rough grasses, particularly on links courses.

Rye Grass – This cool-season grass is used for roughs and fairways. Its use on golf courses has increased due to the fact that it is hard wearing, tolerates close mowing and the ease with which it can be striped by reel mowers.

Kentucky Blue Grass or Smooth-stalked Meadow Grass – A grass used for fairways and roughs, largely in cool-season areas, but also in some humid regions.

Bermuda Grass – A warm season grass variety which is very heat tolerant and found on courses in southern Europe and the Middle East. Bermuda grass can be used on all areas of the golf course and is commonly propagated by sprigging.

Paspalum – A warm season grass which is tolerant of salt water and heat. It can be used for tees, greens, fairways and roughs and provides a very dark green colour.

Taking three of the courses we have designed with Colin Montgomerie as an example it is interesting to note the differences in grass selection at each.

1) The Montgomerie at The Dutch in The Netherlands has creeping bent greens with a browntop bent / fescue mix in the fairways.

2) The Montgomerie at Papillon Golf Club in Turkey has bermuda grass everywhere except for the greens which are creeping bent.

3) The Royal Golf Club at Riffa Views in Bahrain uses wall to wall paspalum.

Made in Scotland

He holds the record for the most appearances on the European Tour winning, over twenty times. He played for Europe in the Ryder Cup eight times and sunk the winning putt in 1985 to capture it back from the USA for the first time in 28 years. He went on to captain Europe in 2002 as Europe once again regained the trophy. Now playing on the European Senior Tour he won the 2009 Order of Merit.

Got it yet ? Easy, Sam Torrance. He must be one of the most popular and charismatic golfers in the world.

As well as his playing schedule and being a well loved TV commentator Sam is now involved in the design of a new golf course in Holland. The project named The Dutch is located in Spijk which is in the centre of Holland close to the town of Gorinchem approximately 40km east of Rotterdam.

It’s easy to see why Sam is such a well respected voice on TV. When he dropped by the office for a design meeting with lead designer Ross McMurray he was fascinating to listen to, and very humorous!

Sam is keen for his golf course at The Dutch to have a traditional feel in terms of its design. It should certainly have a Scottish flavour as it will feature a number of burns crossing golf holes in strategic places, and bunkers will be relatively small but deep enough to cost at least half a shot. But, most importantly, and like his personality, Sam wants the course to be great fun to play.


From left – Lead designer Ross McMurray, Sam Torrance, EGD Director Michael King

Groovey Kind of Love

As from Jan 1, 2010 the R&A and USGA rule regarding grooves shall come into enforcement for all professional golfers. The rule affects irons and wedges that have a loft greater than or equal to 25 degrees (a 5-iron and above). The rule is the result of research done by the R&A and the USGA into how the grooves on a club affects the amount of spin that can generate especially out of the rough. Basically the powers that be want to limit the amount of backspin that lofted clubs can achieve in the hope that wayward shots off the fairway into the rough will be more challenging to the player. The rule will specify that clubs have “V” shape grooves rather than the controversial Square “U” shaped grooves. It might be a step back in terms of technology but by reducing backspin this will increase stopping distances making it more desirable to hit fairways and place a premium on accuracy.

Anything that encourages players to be more accurate off the tee can only be a good thing. Golf should not be all about launching the ball into space but, surely, with an emphasis on shotmaking, strategy and skill. Players will need to be more proficient or less aggresive with an emphasis on course management. It will very be interesting to see how courses will be set up to account for this in the future and how players manage their game.

EGD designer Dave Sampson points out “there will be a ‘better’ position to be … whether in the fairway or rough. The professional golfers will still be able to control the ball from the fairway, however tee shots will now be enhanced / exaggerated / challenged as ‘control’ from the rough will no longer be a given.”

The change by the R&A and USGA shall be very interesting and the intent by the governing bodies is a very positive stance.

Spending a week with European Golf Design

By Charlie Jones

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!

Charlie

Charlie, hard at work
Charlie hard at work.

2016 Olympic Games!

Following the recent announcements from Jack Nicklaus and Greg Norman, we’d like to formally confirm our availability and desire to design the course for the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil.

Football Mugs and Football Thugs

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.


Come on you Toffees!