French professional golfer-turned-architect Nicolas Joakimides is overseeing the progress of the new course at Navarrenx Golf Club in Aquitaine, France.
Construction began in 2014 after owner Jean-Francois Cabarrouy chose French tour professional Nicolas Joakimides to design the course, with the aim of following the thirteen principles laid out by Dr Alister MacKenzie in his book Golf Architecture.
Originally, the plan was for a par 71 course, but as the project progressed the design of the course altered the par to 72. Work on the front nine is currently ongoing with seeding of seven holes completed, with the final two to be completed by the end of this month. Joakimides expects the front nine to be playable by September 2019.
“The owner asked me to help them with shaping this year – I shaped on 15 days in September,” said Joakimides. “I did all the bunkers on the front nine.”
The back nine was built first and opened in April 2017 – Joakimides has played the course several times and he said: “I am happy with the results. It’s a great feeling to play the shots I visualised for so long. The feedback from the players has been excellent. I have also played a few times with fellow teaching pros who said it is a course that everyone can enjoy.
“Every evening, after my shaping work, I would practice or play nine holes. I spend a lot of time around the chipping green. I’m happy to see it really works well. You can really practice all the shots under 60 yards.”
According to Joakimides, there is a lot of short grass around the greens except on the tenth – which is surrounded with sand – and hole thirteen, where there is a creek to cross. His aim was so players can play safe or to use the slopes to get on the green.
“Hole ten is visually impressive from the clubhouse – a long par four that plays downhill with an island green.”