The revamped short game practice area at Real Sociedad Hípica Española Club de Campo near Madrid, Spain, is to open in November 2018 following a redesign by David Williams.
“The 36-hole venue was originally designed by American architect Robert von Hagge in the late 1990s,” said Williams. “It only had one practice green, shared between chipping and bunker practice, although well situated on sloping ground between the two courses and directly in front of the impressive clubhouse. However, it became apparent that this was not large enough for both courses and became overcrowded at busy times.
“Because of the sloping ground on which the facility sits, the club was of the opinion that a second practice green should be provided, separating the functions of bunker and chipping practice,” said Williams.
According to Williams, club officials and membership were fairly evenly divided between providing the second green above the existing one but taking part of the club’s car parking, or below the existing green and taking up the sixth green of the club’s six-hole par-three facility.
“I was called in to give advice, and I think essentially to provide an impartial but informed decision on that choice,” said Williams. “Following a visit to the club in February 2018, we produced a further alternative – not adding a second green, but essentially extending and redesigning the existing facility in both directions at the same level, although this did require the relocation of the club’s halfway house and the repositioning of the first tee of the par three course.
“The club was immediately impressed by this third alternative, producing over 2,000 square metres of practice green all on one level but divided into three separate sections – a bunker practice green of approximately 850 square metres with three bunkers, a chipping practice green of over 750 square metres, and a practice putting green of over 450 square metres.”
The project was constructed by Spanish contractors Chameza Golf between July and September, a relatively quiet period due to the very high temperatures in Madrid. The three practice bunkers feature liner by Capillary Concrete and edging by Durabunker.
Construction work was completed on the new short game area in September. It is scheduled to open for play in early November following the turfing of the facility.