Designer Profile – Stan Eby

‘Modest’, ‘Dedicated’, ‘Perfectionist’ are all words that describe EGD’s Stan Eby. Known almost as much for his moustache and pony tail as for the quality of his work Stan is the man behind some outstanding golf courses.

A graduate of Iowa State University with a degree in Landscape Architecture, Stan began his golf design career working for the Chicago based firm of Golf Course Architect Dick Nugent (Past President of the American Society of Golf Course Architects). He joined European Golf Design in 1992. His Professional credentials included professional registration of the United States National Landscape Architecture Licensing Board and continuing education certificates in Project Management and Construction Administration from the University of Wisconsin.

PGA de Catalunya in Spain was designed by Stan in association with Neil Coles & Angel Gallardo. The course is recognised as one of the top 100 golf courses in the world not only by the golfing press but also by amatuers and pro’s alike. Golf Monthly recently named PGA de Catalunya No. 3 in ‘Top 20 European Courses’. Shortly after the course opened in 1999 Golf World awarded it the “Best New Course in Europe”. The course rapidly created an impression and was rewarded by hosting the Sarazen World Open and Spanish Open. This year the Open de Espana on the European Tour will visit the course at the end of April.

At Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club, Stan worked with Thomas Bjorn to redesign the course and transform it into a golfers’ paradise. The following year Golf World named the course one of the “Top 100 Golf Courses in the World”.

In association with Nick Faldo, Stan designed the Faldo Course at Sporting Club Berlin. The course opened in the summer of 1996 and played host to the German Open in 1998 and 1999. The course was complimented by many Tour players and Golf World voted it “Best New Course in Europe” in November 2007. Stan went on to design the third course at Sporting Club Berlin and no higher acclaim could be paid to his efforts than when the course was named ‘The Eby Course’.

At Portmarnock Links in Ireland, Stan worked alongside Bernhard Langer. The course is nestled in coastal duneland and was designed in the true tradition of links golf with rolling fairway and unforgiving rough. In 2008 the course hosted the Ladies Irish Open. Golf World has said of the course “it’s tough and uncompromising into the prevailing wind, tricky when the wind is at your back – everything a links course should be”.

With design partner Colin Montgomerie, Stan designed the Montgomerie Course at Carton House. The inland link pays tribute to the traditions of the game with sweeping fairways, cavernous bunkers and impeccable greens and has become a ‘must play’ for golfing enthusiasts.

It has received many top awards including:

– ‘Best Course of 2006’ by the readers of Golf Punk Magazine

– Joint winner of prestigious ‘Committed to Green Award’

– ‘Best New Design of the Year 2004’ Award – Golf World, January 2005

– Ranked 10th in Ireland by US Golfers Digest magazine – April 2005

– Home to the 2005 & 2006 Nissan Irish Open

– Home to the 2004 AIB Irish Amateur Open Championship

Stan’s most recent work is Euphoria Golf Estate Hydro in South Africa which was designed in association with Annika Sorenstam. Set in the beautiful Waterberg mountain range the course has been designed with a serious commitment to the preservation of the indigenous fauna and flora. Already the course has been awarded a Compleat Golfer 5-Star Golf Experience.

Stan’s Favourite things:

Sound: Silence

Colour: Shades of grey

Art: The world of Walt Disney

Golf Course: Whatever is on the drawing board

Book: (latest) Team of Rivals

Movie: Das Boot

Food: Cajun

City: Chicago

Drink: What’s on offer?

Place: ‘In the sun’

Gadget: The delete button

Quote: “I CAN ONLY PLEASE ONE PERSON A DAY AND TODAY AIN’T YOUR DAY (Tomorrow Ain’t Lookin Too Good Either)” Anonymous

Music: The Band

  • Stan on a walk across Chobham Common close to the office
  • Stan with Colin Montgomerie during construction at The Montgomerie Course, Carton House, Ireland
  • Stan at his drawing board in Sunningdale
  • Stan with Annika Sorenstam during a press conference at Euphoria Golf Estaste Hydro in South Africa

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

A Bright Start to the Year

Despite the economic doom and gloom that continues to surround us all, the new year has started brightly for us with, perhaps, encouraging signs that the inherent optimism of developers has not been completely lost.

Since the start of the year, we’ve reached agreements with developers in Turkey, Portugal and Morocco to assist with the master planning of new integrated resorts. The consensus among these groups is the thought that now is the perfect time to start planning the master planning process, together with the subsequent submission for planning approvals, will take 12-18 months by which time it would be reasonable to expect that we’ll have reached the bottom of the market and the graph of economic indicators will be climbing again. And, the logic further goes, if that’s not the case and we’re still mired in recession, then that will be a great time to start construction because build costs will be as low as they’re going to get.

The other common threads through each of these developments is that they are well funded, well located and are being developed by groups with solid track records of delivering returns on investment, all of which helps to ease the concerns of investors.

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.

Out On the Road with EGD

Having attended two conferences over the past couple of weeks, it has been interesting gauging various reactions to the current trends. Some of the points of interest are as follows:

European Golf Course Owners Association, Berlin
– Traditional 7-day membership programmes are dying. People want more flexibility and wise operators are increasingly adopting membership structures similar to those in the health and leisure industries (ie no joining fees and monthly – as opposed to annual – fees).

– There is very little growth in the number of players.

– The national federations appear to be representing a decreasing minority of the golfers in Europe and have little, or no, success in attracting new people to the game which raises the question as to what they do with all of the revenue generated from the subscriptions.

– The slowing pace of play is killing participation.

– An increasing number of people are playing 9 holes rather than 18, to the point where some courses are now marketing themselves as having two 9 hole courses instead of an 18 hole course.

– Golf courses need to become mini-resorts with diverse leisure facilities catering for as wide a range of users as possible.

OPP Live, London
– Projects that are well located, well funded and well planned are moving ahead, despite the economic crisis.

– Developers with proven track records of delivering these type of projects are still able to source investment.

– Sales are slower than in recent years, but there is still interest for the right residential product(s).

– The economic situation is acting as an “idiot-filter” in that the speculative gambler attracted to property development by tales of easy money has disappeared from the marketplace, leaving only serious players, on all sides of the property development spectrum (investment, development, design and implementation).

SA to SA in a Week

One week, I was ‘soaking’ up the sun, sea and sand in South Africa; the next I was ‘sweating it up’ in the sun, sea (well, sort of…….) and sand of Saudi Arabia.

After, what is turning out to be an annual pilgrimage back to South Africa for yet another wedding (not mine this time……..), it was back on a plane off to Saudi Arabia, to oversee the construction of the golf course at the King Abdullah City.

So what is King Abdullah City you ask?
Well, it’s so much more than just a property development on a massive scale. Located an hour north of Jeddah on the Red Sea coastline, the city has been Masterplanned as a modern, world-class metropolis, which will become one of the most important cities for Saudi Arabia, providing a permanent home for two million people.

The Golf Course is situated in the ‘Resort Cove’ and forms part of phase 1 of the overall construction schedule for the city.

After a particularly slow start to the Golf Course construction process (some major issues such as irrigation water, procurement of suitable materials…….etc, have had to be dealt with), work is beginning to gather some speed. Shaping is almost complete on Holes 4 and 8, and it is very pleasing to finally see the course starting to take shape…………….however, the only downside to work in Saudi Arabia is that the cool, refreshing, thirst quenching beer I had after a day in the South Africa sun building ‘sand castles’ on Camps Bay Beach, always seems a very long way away!

Life at 38,000 feet

I get a fair bit of ribbing from my colleagues here at EGD for hardly ever being in the office and it is true, the last year has involved an extraordinary amount of travel, particularly to Bahrain, where our course at Riffa Views is very close to completion. All of us on the design staff here get to travel away from home on a regular basis, so my tale is not especially unique, nor do I find the travel particularly onerous. Indeed, the travel element of the job is one of the attractions of this career. One gets to visit so many different places, experience different cultures and cuisines and make a bunch of friends along the way from all corners of the globe. Oh, and I mustn’t forget that we get to mess about with big yellow diggers…and get paid for the pleasure!!

Anyway, the persistent heckling got me to thinking about collating just how much travelling I have done in the past 12 months and so for your perusal I present a few facts and figures from the last year. I could go on, but I’ve got to get packed up for another week long trip to Bahrain. What a rotten way to spend a working week in November!

My Travel Statistics: November 6 2007 – November 6 2008:
Total Number of Business Trips: 32

Number of Overseas Business Trips: 28

Countries Visited (excluding England):

– Bahrain 21 times

– Czech Republic 4

– Scotland 4

– Austria 2

– USA 1

Number of flights taken: 66 (44 intercontinental; 14 European; 8 UK)

Approximate Air Miles flown: 258,000

Time spent in the air: 362 hours (that’s 15.5 days!)

Time spent in airports: 132 hours (another 5.5 days!)

Days working away from the office: 141

Days working in the office: 104

Number of nights in hotels: 116

Number of different hotels: Only 8

Number of spare rooms and sofas: 3

Most consecutive number of days in the EGD office: 10

Longest business trip (in days): 8

Number of near death experiences in a Bahraini taxi: Too many to count!

Number of F1 Grand Prix attended thanks to them being within pitching distance of a project site: 1 (Bahrain). I’m working on Bernie to get him to host a race in Northern Denmark next year!

66,742: The number of words committed to print in the 21 Riffa Views Construction Reports.

?: The number of people who actually read the reports!

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.

A Day in the Life

8am – Cup of tea, check Monty’s and Goosen’s fan email, they range from corporate golf days, design enquiries to autographs and endorsement requests. Check the press for any news stories. With all the recent Ryder Cup speculation around Monty there is always plenty to look through.

9am – Cup of tea, onto the main task of the day which is drawing up green details for a new project in Cyprus.

10am – Take a phone call from the European Tour to update the Tented Village plan for the Portugal Masters, needs to be done by lunch so plan can go to the printers for inclusion in the event brochure.

10.45am – Cup of tea, back to the green details.

1pm – Lunch, Waitrose ready meal.

1:30pm – Cup of tea, computer problem, fix laptop with network card issue.

2:30pm – Cup of tea, back to green details.

4:00 – 4:15pm – Break for a cup of tea.

4:15 – 6:30pm – Finish green details and onto some IT maintenance and backups, EGD’s file system is now over 1 terabyte.

7:30pm – Fill in the days timesheet over a can of beer.

8pm – Leave for home.