Are we witnessing the rebirth of the Golf Club Pfalz?

By: June 18, 2019

Troon International was asked in 2016 to help to elevate the Golf Club Pfalz‘s golf course conditioning to Troon golf course standards. Golf Club Pfalz stretches out over 6,638 yards (par-73; 18-hole championship golf course) through natural woodland.

As the renovation of the golf course is completed, I thought to ask Simon Doyle, Director of Agronomy for Troon International to share with us the details of this project.

What motivated the club management to renovate the golf course?

Golf-Club Pfalz, nestled between Stuttgart and Frankfurt, is home to a beautiful parkland golf course.

As the club approached its 50th anniversary, the board members decided to embark upon a redevelopment project to give the course a fresh new look to ensure all members and guests of Golf-Club Pfalz receive the customary high-quality standard that they are used to at this leading German layout.

Neil Lubbock envisioned taking the golf club into the “next division” of German golf courses through a redevelopment.

With this vision, Golf-Club Pfalz identified Greg Letsche for the design of the course and appointed Troon for agronomy.

Golf Club Pfalz and the lake

What were the key focus areas of the renovation project + why?

Greens and bunkers were initially the key focus areas for the renovation project. There was emphasis on the bunkers to provide improved strategy and visual aesthetics for a round.

The greens were also very important for the redesign as the aim was to achieve consistent year-round conditioning.

The renovation improvements became so evident immediately that it was decided to add in a full tee renovation program to improve the layout even further.

Will they have a data-driven irrigation system?

We will be using soil moisture readings along with the still much-needed human assessment to program the new Rain Bird irrigation system. Remote access to the system allows for site specific real-time adjustments.

Irrigation is very important in the maintaining of the course, with climate change we are seeing long wet periods and long dry periods. This course will be able to cope with both of these extremes.

Back to back part circle sprinkler systems have been introduced, with four to five used on every green, alongside sprinklers that water the outside of the greens.

This allows us to independently manage water usage while separating the green surrounds from the green itself, giving us more accurate and more efficient watering.

Most clubs are guilty of over-watering and under-watering certain areas due to a full circle sprinkler system without an independent valve in head capability, we have combated that with our new irrigation system.

Golf Club Pfalz and one of the fairways

What nature-led solutions did you use for drainage? + Why?

The golf course is surrounded by numerous creeks, ponds, marshes and drainage channels which had become overgrown and blocked over the years.

We cleaned out the non-sensitive areas to improve drainage flows and improve appearance and strategy of the golf course.

We are also expanding existing wetlands to improve areas to drain to and promote such important plants.

Will the Golf Club Pfalz participate in any international biodiversity program? (E.g. Operation Pollinator by Syngenta)

Yes, Golf Club Pfalz will be undertaking the GEO program shortly.

Golf Club Pfalz understands the importance of environmental stewardship and sees this as a valuable platform to assist them in the process, across all aspects of golf club management.

Golf Club Pfalz renovation in progress

What are the future plans of the golf club for the next 3-5 years?

The renovation at Golf-Club Pfalz was really just the beginning, the focus of the club going forward will be to continue improving upon the existing club and find new ways to make Golf Club Pfalz a great members club too.

Part of this improvement strategy will be working on staff training and educational programs to ensure everyone is involved and understands the club’s mission.

Troon will be incremental in these future developments and we look forward to seeing how far this course can go.

Golf Club Pfalz with creek and bridge

This interview was created in cooperation with Performance54.