Architecture Keys: A good golf course

Site

One of the main elements of course evaluation is the quality of the site. First, the beauty of the place, which generally attracts golfers, with a marked preference for coastal courses, and then the natural inclinations of the terrain. Sandy subsoil allows for optimal drainage and lawn growth. Thus it provides a uniform and fast surface all year round.

The sea course in Le Touquet: perfect sandy basement and golf-friendly vegetation.

The sea course in Le Touquet: perfect sandy basement and golf-friendly vegetation.

routing

The second essential component of a successful path, “routing”, that is, the sequence of holes. It is the most eloquent expression of the talent of an architect. It should look natural, harmonious and integrated into the environment. As evidence of this, the holes are integrated into the landscape and do not impose themselves on it.

The Grand Saint Emilionnais Golf Club course has signed with Tom Doak.

Course Diversity

Likewise, the creativity and diversity of the design should provide the opportunity to play all the clubs in the bag. Since then, each hole has its own identity and becomes unforgettable. according to Albert Tlinghust (1876-1942), architect of the Winged Foot layout where the US Open was held in 2020: 18 holes must eventually correspond to 18 different sources of inspiration. » A marketing invention, so the idea of ​​a “signature” hole shouldn’t exist, and each hole had its own signature.

strategy

The strategy should also be in the center of the drawing so as not to present a one-dimensional layout. The architect forces players to think before each shot, even two in advance, in order to position their ball as best they can. Making a decision, among the various possible options, reveals a strategic structure and thus provides a lot of satisfaction, especially the success of a heroic strike. The secrets of the course were revealed during the games and golfers encouraged to come back.

The placement of the No. 1 hole at Châteaux at Médoc Golf Course is an example of a strategic choice being made with a fairway separated by bunkers in the middle. Credit / Mark Alexander

Accessibility at all levels

In addition, the possibility to enjoy all kinds of players (beginners or qualified) is a key factor. Stuffing the course with obstacles in the average ramifications of distances traveled by golfers or offering pro-worthy excessive lengths is a haven for relief and monotony. Don’t forget that the Old Course of St Andrews, the most respected course in the world, can only be played with a racket! The challenge should above all be intellectual, not purely physical.

The Old Track of St. Andrews, an example of an affordable course.

the interview

Finally, one of the most tangible criteria golfers realize is the level of maintenance, particularly the speed of the greens. However, qualitative environmental preservation goes far beyond and respects the original spirit of the design; The architect precisely defined the shear lines of the corridors and roughnesses as well as managing the vegetation. It is also necessary to prune trees, in particular to maintain playing corners, or to maintain speed of greens that adapt to slopes.

Be that as it may, the perfect course does not exist. It is the chemistry of the elements that makes an overall impression. The most important thing remains to have a good time, to spark interest in an ingenious course, able to withstand the progress of technology and the test of time. More great talks to come!

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Kristel Morge Dalg, who is she?
Former European circuit golfer Christel Morge Dallge, who she joined after winning the prestigious AUC title, is now co-owner of the Grand Saint Émilionnais Golf Club and advisor to Golf+.

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