Construction of the new nine-hole Tabori Hill golf course in Tbilisi, Georgia, is complete. The Golfplan design is now in the grow-in phase and expected to open in spring 2019.
The course is part of the US$60 million Tabori Recreation and Golf Resort development, which will also include a five-star hotel, located on a ridge overlooking the city and adjacent to the Tbilisi Botanical Garden.
“The client was looking to create a tourist element that did not exist. A golf resort 10 minutes from the city is a rare feat,” said Kevin Ramsey, principal at Golfplan.
“This golf course is all about preserving the natural environment and taking advantage of the sweeping views of the city below,” said Ramsey. “The site is a rocky ridge 10 minutes from old town Tbilisi. We probably had 30 centimetres of soil covering the rock, so the site was incredibly challenging to build on. The trees were critical. Not only for character, but the rocky soils do not let things grow quickly, so anything you take out will take decades to replace.
“The first and second holes get you started by distracting you with the amazing view straight away, with both holes playing down the ridge towards the valley below,” said Ramsey. “The first hole is a relatively short par four made shorter by the elevation change that will get golfers off to a good start. The second hole is one to take advantage of as it is short par five playing downhill.
“We then change direction and play east with the par-three third hole before turning to go back up the ridge. Now that you are warmed up, holes four and five will make you work as they play uphill to greens with multiple levels. The fourth being a longer par four, and the fifth being a shorter par four. The sixth is our last par five playing uphill, but more gently than the previous two holes.
“Hole seven may be the most memorable as it plays over the edge of the steep valley cliff to a fairway wrapping around the clifftop to a plateau green. A dramatic start to finish! The eighth is a beautiful, short par three set amongst the native pine trees with filtered views to the city. Hole nine rocks and rolls down the hill again to a well-guarded green set into the pine forest. The hotel guests will have great views up the fairway as the hotel sits just behind the green 100 yards away.
“This is purely a resort golf course and must be fun, dramatic and beautiful.”
Clearing of the site began in May 2017. Construction work was overseen by Bora Yenigun, president of Turkey-based Golf International. Golfplan’s Lawrence White and Adam Kelland helped to shape the course and golf course superintendent Paul Avison is overseeing the last details of construction and grow-in. Irrigation equipment has been supplied by Toro.
“I am not sure of anywhere else in the world where you can ride a gondola from the centre of the city straight to the golf course,” said Ramsey. “It is very unique and the hotel is being built with all the bells and whistles, so this will really become a tourist destination. It will add a new dimension to the tourist scene that does not currently exist in Georgia. They have some wonderful hotels, restaurants and wine bars but no true resort until now.”
Ramsey expects the golf course to open in spring 2019, coinciding with the opening of the hotel.