A new nine-hole golf course built using entirely synthetic turf is set to open later this year in Delhi, India.
The par-three course, located at the M3M Club near Delhi airport, has been designed by architect Kevin Ramsey of Golfplan.
The course’s synthetic turf has been produced by Fieldturf, a US-based subsidiary of French company Tarkett.
“We went synthetic here for a lot of reasons,” said Ramsey. “The shade created by these high-rises would have made it quite difficult to grow and maintain healthy turf here, no matter what varietal was chosen. But mainly, it’s for the residents. This FieldTurf will always look good. There will be no dormancy, no off-colour in the off-season. The trees will lose their leaves but residents will always look down from the 33rd floor and see this beautiful, lush-green courtyard with pins – 100 per cent of the time.”
Ramsey said that prepping the subgrade for golf holes designed for FieldTurf is a similar process to the one used on a normal grass course.
“We installed a compacted sub-layer comprised of two separate gravels, then a sand layer and shock pad,” he explained. “It’s all been perimeter drained. You don’t want herringbone drainage because if that settles in an awkward way, you’d have to peel back the turf, address the issue and re-stitch. With this medium, it’s all about minimising seams.”
Ramsey explains that FieldTurf goes above the shock pad, and that the artificial ‘blades’ of grass measure around 2.5 to 3 inches long. A mixture of crumb rubber and sand is then put in place to provide the desired height of cut.
With regards to the synthetic turf itself, Ramsey said: “I’ve hit off the stuff. I've played shots into these greens – it performs like real turf and it looks great. The greens were designed just like they would on championship course, a bit smaller maybe – because these are all par-threes. But the green contour is real."
Ramsey describes Delhi as one of the hottest places he has ever experienced, and said that it would be very difficult to maintain year-round turf there.
“Taking into account what is a pretty harsh climate, we expect a lifespan of 15-20 years for the FieldTurf at M3M,” he said. “Will it be exactly like grass? No. But we couldn’t have done this even 10 years ago. Just in that space of time, we've seen an amazing leap forward in quality.”
The new course is set to open for play this autumn.