First nine open at Otocec

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By Sean Dudley

Slovenia's ninth golf course, designed by Ljubica Jovetic of UK firm Swan Golf Designs, opens its first nine holes for play in July.

The site, tree lined and rolling, lies in the south-east of Slovenia close to the Croatian border and will be a memorable test for all.

Large greens, exciting carries over valleys, stunning mountain views and varied tee locations have created a memorable design. Howard Swan's design practice has been strongly represented over the past ten years in the former Yugoslavia, having been responsible for the design of Croatia's only two modern golf courses and now working on projects in Dubrovnik and close by at Ivanica in Bosnia-Herzogovina.

Ljubica Jovetic, a Croatian and the only woman member of the European Institute of Golf Course Architects said: "In Slovenia, our renovation and restoration work at Golf and Country Club Bled, perhaps our most famous and prestigious club, will set alongside the new course at Otocec very well. I look forward to returning to my country, and Dubrovnik, particularly – such a beautiful city – to design the three golf resorts and communities being planned there." The opening of the nine holes at Otocec this year will be followed by the building of the second nine in 2007.

Swan is also busy with a number of projects in Croatia and a 27-hole complex close to Natal in Northern Brazil. Some 260 hectares are included in the development, with the impressive duneland coastal strip nearby. The land, rolling sand hills and valleys, and with the benefit of a substantial river running through its midst, is vegetated by palms and indigenous species of shrubs, fruits and scrub.

SGD's James Edwards has also prepared a design for a second 18 holes at Blakes GC near Ongar in Essex. The first 18 opened for play last year and has already successfully hosted the Essex PGA Open Championship.

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