Nelson & Haworth Golf Course Architects are leading a significant project at Royal Ottawa Golf Club in Quebec, Canada.
The course was originally designed by Tom Bendelow, before a reworking by Willie Park Jr. The current project includes the introduction of the first new hole on the course in half a century.
Nelson & Haworth was hired in 2015 as Royal Ottawa’s golf course architectural consultant, and GCA spoke with architect Neil Haworth about the firm’s work at the club.
“We were engaged to make design improvements to the course, which would be implemented over a period of five to seven years,” Haworth explained. “We focused on getting traditional consistency in design style throughout, making the course more playable for the membership.”
In the late 1980s, a road adjacent to the course was widened and thereby encroached on the course’s opening two holes.
“We were asked to come up with a solution that would minimise balls being hit onto the road from the tee on the first and second holes,” Haworth said.
To achieve this, Haworth and the project team are creating a new par three hole to replace the second hole, which will be eliminated completely.
“The new par three plays from 185 yards down to 110 yards and is slightly uphill,” Haworth said. “The green sits naturally on a small, sandy plateau which is framed by stately pine and sugar maple trees. The design goal was to build a hole that looks like it was part of the original 18 built back in the early 1900s. We had an aerial photo from 1927 which helped, but most of the original documentation was lost in a clubhouse fire back in 1930.”
Haworth said that fortunately the green location is in an area which does not disturb play, and so much construction work took place this July.
“The green and surrounds were seeded and turfed in the first week of August,” he explained. “The tees will be built and turfed this fall.”
Haworth is confident that the new hole will fit in well with the rest of the course.
“Golfers will be able to play the ground game to get the ball onto the green,” he said. “However, subtle contours will provide an interesting putting challenge. The length and difficulty will fit nicely with the four other par three holes on the course, offering a good balance.”
As well as the addition of the new hole, Nelson & Haworth has been tasked with improving club’s practice facilities, including the development of new driving range and short game area.
The new hole is expected to be ready for play in May 2018.