David Williams has overseen the renovation of two more holes at Real Golf de Pedreña on Spain’s north coast – the final phase of a master plan created in 2010.
“We were initially commissioned by the club not only to create a long-term master plan, but to also advise the club on its greens, which had been rebuilt about ten years earlier to USGA standards,” said Williams. “Unfortunately, that work had led to many of the greens having a small number of pin positions, a situation that the club wished to remedy.”
Williams’s master plan for the club’s championship course, originally designed by Harry Colt, has been implemented since 2010, typically two or three holes every other year to limit inconvenience for members. The club also has second course, a short nine-hole layout designed by Seve Ballesteros, so when holes were taken out of play from the Colt layout for renovation work, the club could replace them with a similar number from the Seve course.
“The club took the decision to fully rebuild a hole when it was closed, allowing the majority of tees and all bunkers to have been rebuilt over the past twelve years,” said Williams. “Since 2016, all bunkers have been re-constructed using Better Billy Bunker liner and Durabunker edging. Many bunkers have been redesigned and repositioned to better reflect modern play, although many original Colt bunkers – abandoned in previous years – have been reopened to recreate the historic challenge of the holes.”
Seven greens, which suffered the worst consequences of a 1990s renovation, have been redesigned and rebuilt with new drainage and irrigation.
One completely new hole was created in 2015, the par-three tenth, a 174-yarder which replaced an unpopular 207-yard uphill par three created in the 1970s.
Other work at Pedreña has included the renovation of the par-three seventh, which is generally regarded as the course’s signature hole and a favourite for members. Williams’s work, completed in 2020, has increased the number of pinnable areas on the green, addressed overgrowth of trees, and renovated bunkers with modern liner and edging.
Work in autumn/winter 2021/22 has included the renovation of both the long par-three second and long par-four fourth, with construction handled by Spanish contractor CugarGolf.
“On the second hole, not only have we renovated all the existing bunkers, but we have also reopened two original Colt approach bunkers, which had been grassed over in recent years,” said Williams. “It is now a very dramatic, but equally difficult, downhill par three that is very picturesque.
“On the fourth hole, we have created additional teeing areas and reopened an abandoned Colt fairway bunker, as well as dramatically changing the green contours to create far more pinnable areas than previously existed. The dramatic greenside bunker complex has also been recreated.”
Tree removal has also been undertaken, which has opened up views across the course as well as to the sea and mountains that surround the layout.
Although the implementation of the 2010 master plan is generally complete, Williams anticipates further work at the club in future years. “During our 12-year involvement, we have added proposals over and above those in our original master plan, and many of these are still to be implemented,” he said. “And there are still improvements to be made to the nine-hole Seve-designed course. We have undertaken work on it already – often in the fallow winters when we were not working on the championship course – including building two completely new par threes – required when a major reservoir was built over two holes on the course to provide water storage capacity for the complete venue.”