“National Golf & Country Club, emerged in October 2021, with a phone call when I was playing hole #7 on a Friday afternoon at Air Golf Club, comments Marco Martin. “On the other end of the phone a person asks me to visit a farm in Romania as soon as possible. Four days later I find myself in Bucharest, and Mircea Dragomir, a golf enthusiast, accompanies me to visit a flat farm, more than flat, with mega clay soil dedicated to sunflower cultivation. Nicolesti is located about 20 minutes north of Bucharest, in a region dotted with natural lakes.
The developer has 120 hectares to develop a golf course, a Country Club sports area, Club House, Conference Center, and a residential community with about 400 independent and high-rise homes. In addition, he wants to dedicate 5ha to a large solar farm that generates green energy to power the residential and leisure complex.
After three intense months of analysis, they approved the final land planning where we propose a “Mariposa” residential golf course, named for the layout of the urban environment with maximum visual integration with the golf course.
“The best golf design always comes from the deep analysis of the greatest constraints.” At National Golf, the biggest problem was a flat property, with less than 1m of slope in 54 hectares of golf land. The solution to the elevation problems was to create eight strategic lakes integrated into the design of the holes, all interconnected and at the same elevation, that is, all the lakes maintain the same level and simultaneously share the fluctuations.
The excavation of more than 300,000 m3 to depress lakes and holes has allowed us to develop all the creativity in earthworks. I invite any student of golf course design to analyze the contouring of contour lines to study in depth the essence of golf course design and the work of a golf designer.
The pace of construction is impressive. We began earthworks in September 2022, in three months 300,000 m3 had been moved. The shaping rhythm was one hole every ten days with three experienced shapers. After 12 months of work, the construction is 95% complete, with 16 holes planted and only the tree planting work to be carried out in the winter months is pending.
The construction company is of Turkish origin, with Stirling & Martin having directly selected the shaper team.
All the Engineering of the project has been developed and supervised by Angel Serrano, Director of Engineering and Agronomy of Stirling & Martin Golf Architects, and he is also the author of the sophisticated water supply project for the irrigation of all the common green areas of the urbanization and of the individual supply to each home.
The irrigation system is EIGCA Gold Partner, Toro's sophisticated LINKS system with state-of-the-art INFINITY sprinklers. The machinery park is also entirely TORO. All seeds have been supplied from Spain by EIGCA Bronze Partner, Semillas FITÓ.
In summary, National Golf is characterized by large greens, which has allowed Blake Stirling and Marco Martin to recreate the essence of classic Scottish courses with infinite flag positions, from very simple to tremendously demanding. Molded fairways and roughs that allow the rapid evacuation of rainwater and very visual holes, which has allowed the developer to have sold 50% of the total real estate offer in less than 6 months.
All photos provided courtesy of Marco Martin.