Construction work has started on a new nine holes at Golfclub De Haar near Utrecht, Netherlands.
Belgian golf course architect Bruno Steensels has designed the new holes, and Dutch contractor HGM began construction work in December 2018. Once the new nine is complete, the club’s existing nine holes will be renovated.
The course is located in the grounds of the nineteenth-century De Haar Castle in northwest Utrecht. Dutch landscape architect Hendrik Copijn originally designed the castle’s Noorderpark (North park) and Zuiderpark (South park) and a six-hole golf course was added. The course was expanded to nine holes by English architect Frank Pennink in 1974.
“Four new holes will be built outside of the park and five inside the South park,” said Steensels. “The existing holes will be totally reworked. We will reshape all the fairways so that the water system that we’re using gets water off the fairways and to the lake as quickly as possible via a storm-sewer system. We’re sand-capping the fairways, reducing the size of the bunkers and redesigning tees and greens.
“The routing of the existing nine is going to totally change. We’re rebuilding the course to a high standard and a completely new design. We’re going to reopen all the sightlines that were in the plan from Copijn. Our plan is to try to do elevations on the new nine as they are on the existing course – there won’t be much groundwork.
Steensels’s plans also include considerable changes to the club’s tree stock. “There are 150-year-old trees situated on the park – we’re taking out about 650 big trees and 200 small trees, and for every tree being taken out we will replant two.”
Steensels said that the project has taken quite a while to reach this stage due to the many parties involved, including local government and Nature Reserve authority who are following the project on a weekly basis. “For every tree that is being taken out or being changed, we have to contact them,” said Steensels. “That’s an example of why it has taken about 20 years to get to this stage – freedom is a little bit harder to come by.”
The work will be completed in three phases, with nine holes always open. The club aims to have the new nine in play in autumn 2019 and all 18 holes playable by 2020.
The club also plans to build a new clubhouse, once it has approval to remove trees in the proposed location.