Denmark’s biggest renovation starts


Denmark’s biggest renovation starts
Sean Dudley

Design firm Spogárd & VanderVaart has broken ground on what is believed to the biggest reconstruction project ever to take place in Denmark.

The project, at the New Course at Himmerland Golf & Country Club, located in north Jutland, aims to establish the venue among the premium clubs in Europe and bring the European Tour back to Denmark in 2014.

“The renovation of the New Course will be among the most comprehensive renovation projects ever to take place in Scandinavia,” says Philip Spogárd. “The work will include the design and reconstruction of all 18 greens, all bunkers throughout the course, more than 30 new tees – including 18 new ‘Tournament Tees’ which will make the course the longest in Denmark, a full irrigation system for tees, fairways and greens as well as a 3.500 sq m reservoir. We will also lower selected fairways to help remove or improve about 80 per cent of the blind or semi-blind shots.

“We will also look at ways of improving the existing nine hole course and help design a unique ‘Himalaya-style’ green inspired by the famous green from St Andrews. The Himalaya green will use the area of the old driving range and serve as the connection between the clubhouse, the parking area, the holiday houses and the driving range. It will offer a fun and easy way for newcomers wanting to experience golf.”

Himmerland’s decision to renovate is in part down to years of turf problems with its existing greens. Due to compaction in the soil, the greens always struggled to emerge from the tough Danish winters. The new greens will be build to USGA specifications. Per Gundtoft, who has a background as the superintendent at Valderrama in Spain, is consulting in relation to the agronomic aspects of the projects. The construction of the golf course has been put in the hands of Scottish contractor David Nelson. 

HGCC is currently investing heavily its facilities. A multi-million euro project, which includes the expansion of the clubhouse and hotel with the addition of conference, spa and wellness facilities, will run simultaneously with the reconstruction of the course.

“We all agree, we will be able to offer something pretty unique when both the golf course and our other facilities are ready in 2012. We will start the project immediately and expect to play on the course again from August 2012”, says Claus Birk Larsen, the club’s chief executive.

”The actual reconstruction of the course is based on the existing routing – with the exception of a new par three hole and the fact that the finishing holes on the Old and New course are swapped around. The New course is characterised by the space between the holes – which is very rare these days, most courses are squeezed into very small pieces of land. It means that areas of great natural beauty and diversity have had room to establish itself – creating a wonderful natural experience. My thought from the beginning has been to build on this and to try and enhance it where possible. We will help the club create a unique character by introducing a new bunkering style which will be different from what has been seen in Denmark so far,” says Spogárd.