The first and seventh holes at Real Golf de Pedreña in Spain have been rebuilt, a further step in architect David William’s renovation of the Harry Colt-designed course.
Williams was appointed by the club in 2010 to create a renovation plan for the course, which first opened in 1928. Since then, he and the club have worked in phases to realise that plan.
“The renovation is usually of the complete hole, with tees, bunkers and the whole green complex re-designed and rebuilt, with the drainage and irrigation being updated at the same time,” said Williams. “As such, the complete hole is closed whilst the work is being done, with up to two or three holes closed at any one time. Because of this disruption, reconstruction is normally only undertaken every alternate autumn, although the club have the advantage of also having a shorter nine-hole course, also starting and finishing at the clubhouse, designed by the late, great Seve Ballesteros.
“During the reconstruction period, we can replace holes closed on the main course with holes from the nine-hole layout, thereby maintaining the 18-hole layout. We also use fallow years – with no reconstruction on the Championship course – redesigning and rebuilding holes on the Seve-designed layout, creating two completely new par three holes during the winter of 2018-19.”
This year’s work included the reconstruction of the par-four first and par-three seventh, the latter being many members’ favourite, according to Williams. The green runs diagonally right to left and is protected by two large front bunkers and a long bunker at the rear.
Despite its popularity, Williams believed several aspects of the hole could be improved. Only 10 per cent of the putting surface was useable for pin positions due to faster green speeds, and trees had overgrown to the extent that straight or faded shots to the left-hand pin positions were impossible. The rear bunker could not be seen from the tee, while an approach bunker in Colt’s original design had been filled in. All the bunkers showed washout after heavy rain, which the redesign proposed to address with the addition of Durabunker edging and a Better Billy Bunker base, technologies which have been introduced to all the recently developed bunkers on the course. A concrete drain was also visible on the hole, and two unnecessary tracks cut across the approach and carry area.
These issues were explained to members prior to construction to address concerns about the changes that would be made to the hole. Construction work was then undertaken by JeriGolf, beginning in early autumn 2019. Following delays caused by long periods of rain, construction was completed in February 2020 and the hole will now reopen for play in Spring 2020.