The Tasmanian Planning Commission has granted development approval for an extension of the Bicheno Golf Club, the only irrigated golf course on the island’s east coast. The project will see the nine-hole Bicheno course extended to eighteen, with several of the new holes being built in natural coastal sand dunes.
A local Tasmanian developer has owned land bordering the existing course for over 20 years, and has struck a deal with the golf club involving the creation of nine new holes, designed by Australian practice Crafter + Mogford Golf Strategies, in return for a land swap that assists in the creation of a 61 lot subdivision. The project manager is Greg Ramsay, the man behind the genesis of Tasmania’s successful Barnbougle Dunes course.
The existing course, designed in the 1950s by professional Alf Toogood, is set back some 300m from the ocean and the new site comprises the land between the ocean and the existing course, as well as land further to the north. “It is well suited to golf, comprising predominantly sandy soils, and has a stretch of around 900 metres of coastal dunes that front Maclean Bay,” said architect Neil Crafter. “The coastal dunes rise to a typical height of around 6-7m, with higher dune peaks from 10-14m, and are predominantly vegetated by coastal wattle, an invasive species that has progressively taken over the dunes over the last 50 years. Immediately behind the dunes lies a series of wetlands and low-lying areas that are subject to periodical inundation from heavy rain events.
Five of the new holes will be sited in these coastal dunes. “Part of our approach to achieve development approval was to propose that only one hole in the dunes would be cleared at any one time, so as to minimise the potential for wind erosion,” said Crafter. “After fine shaping and irrigation installation, the holes will be hydroseeded. Fortunately for golf, the coastal dunes have become degraded with heavy infestations of coastal wattle, which outcompetes indigenous dune species. Golf in the dunes will facilitate the removal of large areas of wattles and see their replacement with turf and native dune plants.”
Crafter and his partner Paul Mogford will construct a series of wetlands with the purpose of managing stormwater flows from the new allotments. The excavation of these wetlands will also provide the sand fill needed to build up some fairways and greens on the inland holes. “These environmental features will be revegetated with local indigenous reeds, rushes and sedges, with other appropriate riparian vegetation around their perimeters,” said Crafter.
“The overarching philosophy in the design is to use the natural features of the land and to minimise any earth shaping, so as to create a very natural looking course,” the architect added. “The wonderful coastal dunes are a striking feature of the site and it is clear that the holes within the dunes will become the feature holes of the course. The new holes will have a good variety of length, play direction, dogleg direction and landscape setting, with some holes having wetland settings, upland settings and coastal dune settings, creating a challenging and complementary nine holes to the existing course.”
Detailed design is expected to commence shortly, with construction of the new holes getting under way later this year.