Piza Golf Design has completed a major project at the Las Parotas Golf Club, near Huatulco, Mexico.
Las Parotas was originally designed by the Mexican government and built in the 1980s. The course changed ownership in November 2012, and Pizá Golf Design was appointed to carry out an extensive project at the course in April of last year.
The firm’s main objective was to deliver a more challenging and aesthetically-pleasing experience for players.
Agustin Pizá, the firm’s lead architect and a senior member of the EIGCA, explained to GCA that substantial work was required at Las Parotas to bring it up to scratch.
“The course not only needed a full revamp, since St. Augustine grass took over almost the whole playing area and the overall maintenance had been complete failure for the past 20 years, but really needed an intelligent, sustainable design,” he said. “We thought thoroughly on how to create a more challenging and beautiful site with less need for watered and fertilised areas that could serve as a native area that surrounded the outskirts of the fairways and roughs.”
Features of the project included alterations to the original layout, with the introduction of new strategic, heroic and penal holes, taking the course’s length over the 7,000-yard mark. 25 hectares of maintained areas were converted into free nature areas, reducing the overall size of the course to just 35 hectares and therefore lowering water consumption and maintenance costs.
Pizá Golf Design was given a budget of US$3 million to carry out the project, and with the need for a full irrigation system, that figure was immediately down to US$2 million.
“We set the priorities immediately with our client and had to balance form and function,” explained Pizá. “One initial agreement was to have all of the golf course surface drained, which would save thousands of dollars in drainage materials. Our priorities became tees, greens complex and basic strategy on fairways to accommodate a pro tournament.”
The new layout also saw a renewed focus on oceanside play. Previously, golfers could only enjoy a green coming in and tees going out to the sea, spending approximately 10 to 14 minutes on the ocean holes. With the new layout, which includes a newly elevated twelfth green, players now play two greens and two tees with an ocean view, spending roughly 20 to 24 minutes by the sea.
The firm had to carry out the work to a strict and demanding time schedule in order to miss the Mexican hurricane season.
With little room for mistakes, Pizá said of a project that demanded utter commitment: “We were worked very hard to achieve our goals. We think that the budget and weather were biggest constraints, and as architects we had to put in triple time in site visits to get this course done. We are very proud of this project and the final product.”