Swan Golf Designs (SGD) has been reappointed as Golf Course Architect to lead the renovation at Golf Course Bled, Slovenia.
Nestling amongst the Julian Alps and set above the glacial lake of the same name Bled has long been a sporting playground for the rich and famous and was a favourite destination for the Yugoslav royal family. The town is now an important centre of tourism in Central Europe, attracting visitors from across the region. Golf Course Bled is the oldest golf course in the former Yugoslavia dating back to 1937, with its 27 holes laid out amongst mature alpine woodland overlooked by the snow-capped peaks of the neighbouring Triglav National Park It is currently ranked 49th in the Golf World magazine’s Top 100 Golf Courses of Continental Europe.
October will see SGD return to Bled to continue its renovation of the Kings Course following the purchase of the resort by the Solak family, who intend to bring the golf course to a standard worthy of international amateur and professional events. The project will include the redesign and reconstruction of all greens, tees and bunkers with associated reshaping of green surrounds and fairways where appropriate, and the installation of a state-of-the-art irrigation system to help maintain perfect playing conditions throughout the golfing season. In addition Bled will benefit from a renewed focus on the management and development of out-of-play areas to improve the course’s integration into its wider landscape setting supported by the creation of new woodland, grassland and aquatic habitats.
Work on site is programmed to begin in March 2015, with a phased construction timetable ensuring that at least 18 holes remain in play at all times.
The greatest attraction is also the most significant threat to the course at Barton on Sea Golf Club, located on England’s south coast overlooking the Channel and the Isle of Wight. The original course, dating back to 1897, was extended to twenty-seven holes in the early nineties and takes full advantage of the cliff top setting in creating some wonderfully spectacular holes. But now the power of the sea and the UK’s highly changeable climate is taking its toll with the club now finding a number of holes under threat from the receding coastline.
Swan Golf Designs (SGD) is helping the membership at this highly popular club redesign those holes which are under threat, and at the same time is extending its expert analysis to other parts of the course to identify opportunities for improvement. It is likely that, starting this autumn, five holes will be altered with the construction of new tees, new bunkers and one new fairway plus modifications to two greens.
The second phase of work is anticipated to include that two or three more holes will be renovated with the redesign and reconstruction of tees and bunkering.
Other proposed improvements consist of the revisions to the overall bunkering throughout the course and further development of the large practice ground to realise a multifunctional range and family golf course.
Swan Golf Designs has been appointed by Huddersfield Golf Club to advise on making improvements to their golf course.
Huddersfield is one of Yorkshire’s leading golf clubs and enjoys a location high above the town at the historic, grade II listed Fixby Hall, featuring panoramic views of West Yorkshire and the Peak District from many of its holes. The course was originally designed by Tom Dunn in 1892 and over the years has benefitted from design input from many of British golf architecture’s leading names, including Alister MacKenzie, Herbert Fowler, Tom Simpson and Huddersfield Golf Club’s long time professional and Open Championship winner Alex “Sandy” Herd.
SGD has been tasked with compiling an audit of the golf course with particular focus on the course’s bunkers, with the aim of improving their playability and appearance. Other features to be analysed by SGD include potential new tees, improvements to the practice facilities and the wider landscape setting.
In late March the Swan Golf Designs (SGD) renovated golf course at Karnataka Golf Association (KGA) in Bangalore, India successfully hosted The Bonallack Trophy, the biennial match between Europe and Asia’s top amateurs.
Five years ago SGD was selected to lead the upgradation of the original Peter Thomson designed course at KGA, with the project completed in two phases of nine-holes over a ten month period. The complete renovation of the golf course encompassed nineteen new greens, new tees, new bunkering and a completely re-grassed course using TIFdwarf and TIFway 419 Bermuda grasses. A modernised irrigation system was also installed as part of the comprehensive relaying of golf course.
In addition to the golf course renewal SGD designed and implemented an ambitious engineering project to prevent annual flooding and the resultant closure of the course through the monsoon season. This project, wholly integrated with the remodelling work, included raising much of the course by more than a metre, installing kilometres of drainage pipe, hectares of water storage lakes and a sophisticated evacuation system utilizing the irrigation pumps. Since the project’s completion the golf course has never been closed to play due to flooding.
More recently Howard Swan has made two consultative visits to help KGA prepare for the prestigious event, working closely with the golf course superintendent and her team to execute an intensive programme of culturing to present the finest quality of golf course possible. At the conclusion of the match, won by Europe 17.5 to 14.5, the championship course received rave reviews from the organisers and players alike, as well as representatives of the Asia Pacific Golf Confederation, the European Golf Association and the R&A.
The Bonallack Trophy is the second international event to be held at KGA, with the Asian Tour’s Indian Open having been played on the 7227 yard par-72 layout in 2010, becoming the first golf course in southern India to do so.
Swan Golf Designs (SGD) has been appointed at Stirling Golf Club, Scotland, to carry out a comprehensive review of their course, following in the footsteps of Old Tom Morris, Willie Fernie, James Braid and Sir Henry Cotton in making an input into its design.
Situated in Kings Park in the shadow of the historically significant Stirling Castle, Stirling Golf Club was formed in 1869, although there is evidence that golf has been played on this site since 1505. Despite having only seven holes set alongside the old Stirling racecourse to begin with, the club benefitted from the expertise and fame of four-time Open Champion Young Tom Morris as its first professional. In 1892 Old Tom Morris travelled from St Andrews to modify the now nine-hole course, before it was extended to eighteen by Royal Troon’s Willie Fernie in the early 1900s. More significant changes were overseen by two more Open Champions, James Braid in 1938 and Henry Cotton in 1967 which have resulted in the course that is played today.
Now, almost 600 years since golf was first played on the site, Swan Golf Designs has been tasked with bringing the course into line with the modern game.
SGD’s focus will be on retaining the important historic features whilst taking into account improvements in playing equipment, higher golfer expectations in terms of playability and course condition, and the need to ensure safety for both golfers and other visitors to Kings Park.
It is anticipated that renovation work will begin in autumn 2014, with the first phases including improvements to the bunkering and the restoration of the indigenous landscape.
Swan Golf Designs (SGD) has been asked to return to The Karnataka Golf Association, Bangalore, five years after completing the comprehensive redesign of their championship golf course.
The original project was centred upon solving an annual flooding issue which caused the course to be closed for several weeks each year. However, as the engineering solution was identified it became apparent that this was a unique opportunity to improve all facets of the course. After thorough analysis, lengthy consultation with the membership and detailed planning the SGD designed solution was implemented over two phases, and included new greens, tees and bunkering throughout, a high specification drainage scheme and an automated water collection/storage/irrigation system.
Since completion the upgraded layout has proved to be a major success, never once having been closed due to flooding whilst also being voted India best course and becoming the first venue in southern India to host the prestigious Indian Open Asian Tour event. In March 2014 KGA will proudly host the Bonallack Trophy, the biennial contest between the leading amateurs of Europe and Asia.
SGD will return to KGA later this month to review the progress made over the past five years and to set out a programme for further improvements to be implemented over the next five years.
Swan Golf Designs (SGD) is continuing its work with Nefyn & District Golf Club to improve the safety and quality of the world renowned North Wales layout.
Having designed and overseen the construction of the new “Alternate 12th Hole” earlier this year, SGD is now embarking on the redesign of the 14th green at the very tip of the “Point”.The project will see the existing green removed and a new green built slightly further from the newly constructed Porthdinllaen boat house, reducing the risk of errant golf balls troubling volunteers and visitors to the RNLI’s newest lifeboat station.
The golf club has asked SGD to make the most of the opportunity by creating a new green that will fit better into the unique landscape and provide more challenge to the few golfers who manage to hit it. Construction is set to begin in the first week of December 2013 with a view to the new green being brought into play before summer 2014.
November will see Swan Golf Designs begin the design work at Castlereagh Hills Golf Course, Northern Ireland, primarily to improve the safety of the eighteen-hole public course.
Over the past three years the local Borough Council has been addressing the performance of the highly popular golf course to improve its attractiveness and its commercial prospect, already having lengthened the layout to include two par-5 holes at the 8th and 12th. Now the layout, originally the nine-hole Gilnahirk Golf course, will see further changes to the 2nd, 3rd and 7th holes to vary the design and give added security to the boundaries of the course where it lies adjacent to roads and properties.
SGD is presently working towards finalising the design options for the Council and Club to assess with the ultimate redesign and renovation proposals likely to be implemented in spring 2014.
October will see the next stage of the bunker renovation project get underway at Gerrards Cross Golf Club, continuing the implementation of the Swan Golf Designs devised strategy for improvement of the golf course following an initial golf course appraisal.
In early 2012 William Swan directed the renovation of bunkering on the 16th and 17th holes before an SGD designed short-game academy was constructed later that year. Autumn 2013 will see work to improve the 5th, 6th, 10th and 13th holes with reconstruction and repositioning of bunkers to improve playing strategy as well as hazard appearance and visibility.
Swan Golf Designs is preparing for busy months ahead as it combines the on-going design of new golf courses with the start of renovation projects throughout the UK.
Enfield Golf Club will resume their bunker renovation project this autumn under the direction of SGD. Started in October 2012, six holes have now been completed with two further holes set to be worked on over the coming weeks.
East Berkshire Golf Club, more than five years after embarking on a long-term renovation of their 110 year old course, has set about re-establishing its heathland character. Building upon the completed bunker reconstruction project which also took in the redesign of selected tees and reshaping of several green surrounds, SGD will continue to work alongside Course Manager Matthew Nutter and his team to reinstate lost swathes of heather either from dormant seed on the golf course or from harvesting plants from the nearby National Trust managed Simons Wood.
Corhampton Golf Club in Hampshire is set to begin a SGD designed renovation project with the greenstaff undertaking the rebunkering of three holes and reconstruction of one tee complex as the first phase of a long-term golf course improvement scheme under the Practice’s on site direction.
Elsewhere, SGD continues to provide consultancy and project management to golf clubs throughout the UK, including Ripon City and Ely City Golf Clubs in England, Nefyn & District Golf Club in Wales, Holywood Golf Club in Northern Ireland and The Isle of Eriska in Scotland.
In addition SGD has several new design projects currently on the drawing board, with main contractor John Greasley Ltd due on site at the relocated 18-hole course at Channels Golf Club before the end of the year, and the New Roumieh Village Resort in the Lebanese capital of Beirut scheduled to break earth in spring 2014.