French-based architect Jeremy Pern has recently been appointed project designer for Andorra's first full length nine hole course. "Andorra is not much more than a long, deep valley running through the Pyrenees between France and Spain and the only areas flat enough to accommodate a nine hole course are at the top of the ski lifts," said Pern. "I think it will be the highest course in Europe. The first tee and ninth green will be 2,260m above sea level." Andorra has undergone a massive winter sports tourism development programme over the past ten years and is seeking to create tourism facilities for the summer clientele. Golf will form part of that response. The golf season is expected to run from snow melt to snow fall, April through to November in a good year,May to October otherwise.
"I live in Toulouse close to the Pyrenees and I spend a lot of my spare time in the mountains – either climbing or skiing – so it's fun to be working where I usually play," Pern said. "There are many similarities between construction and management of golf courses and ski resorts. They both require modification of the topography and they require water delivered in high pressure under ground pipes for irrigation or snow.
"The Andorra site itself is magnificent and we are hoping to avoid too much earth moving by some very careful routing. Many of the holes are situated on the ski runs around the nursery slopes and we will be using the artificial snow cannon system to irrigate the course. There is a big reservoir on site used for storing water for the snow machines that we will be incorporating in to the design. Pine trees and stunning views complete the picture.
We played with the idea of using synthetic surfaces for greens and tees, but with the exception of a single tee box per hole, we'll stick to grass."