It is great to hear that a prestigious golf course like the Gleneagles is returning to its original golf course design. In Gleneagles case, to James Braid’s design who originally designed the Queen’s Course (a heathland course).
Here are some of the highlights of the 18-month renovation program that began in 2016:
- The installation of the ‘Energy-Passive Ground Water Recharge Pump’ technology on the 16th green of The Queen’s Course – which was originally designed in a natural ‘bowl’ shape by James Braid – resolves a millennium-old drainage issue by siphoning water from saturated surface areas.
- The non-intrusive drainage technology, developed by Groundwater Dynamics, equalizes moisture content throughout the depth of the bore hole and harnesses the natural contraction and expansion of the soil to return runoff water to the earth’s natural reservoir.
- The lining of 89 bunkers with a specialist Capillary Concrete system – to maintain perfect playing conditions and drainage; modify the visibility of the sand lines on each bunker, and further enhance the aesthetic appeal of each hole.
- The project has also seen the course’s fairway lines being taken back to James Braid’s original designs. The original Braid’s bunker designs at Gleneagles were based on the courses supporting summer play only, but know the golf course after the restoration is playable all-year-round.
- From now on there will be no fairway bunkers in the rough. They will sit in the fairways. Thus, in some cases, the fairways will be 40% wider.
Maybe you don’t know, but it is worth highlighting that Gleneagles is participating in the OnCourse® program of the Golf Environment Organization. This program is supported by The R&A and other partners, including The European Tour, Jacobsen, Toro, John Deere, Golf Europe and dozens of National Golf Federations and with promotion from BIGGA, FEGGA, EGCOA, CMAE, PGAE, and EGA.
I always said that it is not sustainable and an obstacle to the growth of the game if we always expand the length of our golf courses. This is why a good idea to return to the original James Braid design.
I would also think about how could we replace bunkers with other natural forms of hazard. It would be interesting to know and see if they reduced the turfgrassed area for the sake of sustainability or not.