Golf course architects from throughout Europe gathered for the annual meeting of the European Institute of Golf Course Architects in Bruges, Belgium last week. The conference programme saw a strong emphasis on design for sustainability.
John Clarkin, managing director of golf course consultancy Turfgrass, encouraged delegates to create golf course designs that are environmentally and economically sustainable, to ensure a positive future for the sport of golf.
Among his recommendations were the reduction of areas of maintained turf, and avoidance of bunker designs that are too elaborate or extensive to maintain efficiently.
Environmental consultant Matt Johns highlighted the potential benefits of protecting ‘natural capital’ in golf course design, and golf course architect Christophe Staedler, the vice president of EIGCA, gave attendees an insight into the sustainable approach he adopted during the design of new holes and renovation of existing ones at the 45-hole Golf Resort Oeschberghof in Donaueschingen, Germany.
The conference programme also included insights into the redevelopment of the West course at Wentworth from Graham Humphries of MJ Abbott and Jonathan Pendry of Bernhard, and Jim Croxton of the British and International Golf Greenkeepers’ Association spoke of the value of education.
Representatives from Belgium’s golf authorities provided insights into the sport in the country, including a discussion of stringent regulations that will almost eliminate the use of pesticides and fertilisers on Belgium’s golf courses. And before the conference, delegates had the opportunity to play and study two of Belgium’s leading golf courses, the Harry Colt-designed Royal Zoute in Knokke and Royal Ostend, which was renovated by Martin Hawtree, an EIGCA Fellow, in the 1990s.