Construction work has started on the renovation of Castle Hill Country Club in Sydney, Australia, which is being overseen by golf course architect Bob Harrison.
The primary driver for work at the club, which hosted the Australian PGA Championship in 1985 and 1986, was to review and reconstruct bunkers. “The bunkers were draining very poorly, looked shabby, and were difficult to get in and out of,” said Harrison.
“The resulting scope of work sees us building a completely new set of bunkers, building three completely new greens with the possibility of a further three, modifying smaller sections of five other greens and substantially revising the landscape. We will also develop a creek system to help move the additional flow of water which results from the new surrounding development and will be an attractive strategic factor in the course design.”
Castle Hill lies in steep and rolling clay country and will have new Mackenzie-style bunkers like those Harrison introduced on similar ground at courses like Ellerston, Brookwater and The Grand.
“There will be great emphasis on both their strategic location and attractive appearance,” said Harrison. “We spend a great deal of time to make sure that the patterns of shape are harmonious and appealing. The new bunkers will include the Matrix system – a bitumen-like layer – which greatly helps the drainage, and also helps to keep the sand on the curved faces during periods of heavy rain.”
The farmland and open fields which surrounded the course when it first opened have now been largely replaced by housing as Sydney’s residential areas have expanded. The club wanted a plan that could handle this foreseeable encroachment and that provided it with a masterplan for 2020 and beyond.
“They also wanted us to see whether there are any other improvements which could be made without a revolution – they quite sensibly didn’t want complete revision of the corridors in particular. The corridors at Castle Hill are very attractive and the spacing is generous, allowing them to be separated by copses of trees which aren’t restricted to straight lines one or two trees wide.”
Flemming Golf started construction in July 2018, more than three years after Harrison Golf’s appointment to do the masterplan.
“The masterplanning concept has become very popular Down Under,” said Harrison. “It makes really good sense, as it becomes a somewhat formalised document which describes the future of design work on the course and significantly reduces the likelihood of ad hoc changes made by constantly-changing golf club committees.”