Date: Mon 12 Mar 2018

David Williams Completes Second Totally Private Golf Course

Following the very successful completion of his first unique design for a private client of a totally private golf course, Past President of the European Institute of Golf Course Architects, David Williams has now completed a second version at a different venue.

The initial concept utilised just five greens and tee complexes.

The initial concept utilised just five greens and tee complexes.

As he explains, “The first course, designed to offer a full length 18 hole course using only five green and tee complexes, was successfully opened in summer 2015. A relative of the client was invited to test it out, and also as a low handicap player, immediately realised that he would like a similar concept on his own private estate”.

However, although the concept is generally the same, with holes played in different directions from different tees to different greens, in reality the second site dictated a quite different solution. Unlike the first site which was generally flat and regularly shaped, the second site high up in the mountains of Europe, was a much more testing but therefore dramatic one (see photo below). Essentially, a four pointed star in shape, it required slight deviation from the theoretical idea illustrated above.

One hole which can be played as a par 3 or short drive-and-pitch par 4

One hole which can be played as a par 3 or short drive-and-pitch par 4

With the star shape of the site, greens and tees were generally positioned in the points of the star, with all drives being directed to a fairly central landing area. As such, utilising only five greens would not give the difference of play essential to translate the concept into reality.

It was therefore decided to site two greens in many of the points of the star, thereby offering the necessary alternative second (or even third) shot.

One of the two green complexes photographed during construction.

One of the two green complexes photographed during construction.

Some of the green complexes therefore resemble those seen in early days of golf in Japan, with two greens either side by side, or one in front of the other, as seen during construction in the above photo. Eight greens averaging just in excess of 350 square metres each were constructed in the ‘star’ area and the ninth green in front of the (club)house. This ninth/eighteenth green (photo below) was larger still, so that it could also be used as a practice putting green as well as the focus of the short game practice area utilising the greenside bunkers and surrounding areas.

The final 9th/18th green is also used as a practice putting green, as well as being the focus for short game practice.

The final 9th/18th green is also used as a practice putting green, as well as being the focus for short game practice.

The final hole, a dramatic downhill par 3, is in its own separate valley finishing immediately in front of the house, leaving eight greens to be sited within the main star shaped area of the site.

The overall concept remains the same however, utilising tees and greens differently to make up an 18 hole course of 18 unique holes. But the challenge was extended even further, in that two different 18 hole routings have been created – one slightly easier and then a tougher test using 18 of the most challenging holes.

The course was constructed in two phases – one in spring 2017 and the second in autumn 2017, and is due to open for play in spring 2018.

Click here to read David's original article 'A Totally Flexible Golf Course'.

Click here to read more about David.

Golf Course Design
Sustainability