The penultimate phase of a five-year renovation of the course at Fontana Golf Club near Vienna, Austria, has started.
Extensive renovations to the second, third, eleventh and twelfth holes are currently underway including the reconstruction of all tees, greens, bunkers, large waste bunkers and new irrigation. “When the new holes are completed later this summer, work will begin on the first, ninth and tenth holes, which represent the final three holes to be completed,” said golf course architect Doug Carrick.
The project began in 2016 and is being carried out in phases. Work completed during 2019 included new thirteenth and sixteenth holes. The on-site work is being overseen by former Fontana superintendent, Barry Britton, in consultation with Carrick during the Covid pandemic.
“The redesign of Fontana has two primary objectives,” said Carrick. “Restore Fontana to its former position as one of the top ranked courses in Austria with improvements to the challenge, playability, conditioning, and aesthetic character of the golf course; and reconfigure the layout to allow for future residential development to be integrated on the land encompassing the former sixteenth hole.
“The rerouting of the golf course required the addition of four and a half entirely new holes and the reversal of the former thirteenth hole, in order to make the routing connect properly and to accommodate future residential development on the former seventh, eighth and sixteenth holes.”
Another goal for the club was to attract the Austrian Open, which it hosted between 2006 and 2012. The championship yardage was increased by more than 400 yards, with significant length added to seven holes on the back nine.
“The most dramatic changes – except for the new holes – have been made to the final three holes, by converting the new sixteenth from a short par five into a long demanding par four, with water winding along the entire length of the hole,” said Carrick. “The seventeenth green was moved back 40 yards onto a peninsula in the lake bringing water more into play along the right and back portion of the green.
“The eighteenth was lengthened by 50 yards, creating a much more dramatic finish on this risk-reward par five. The new tee complex was shifted more than 140 yards to the left of its original location, changing the shot angle from the tee to the fairway and bringing the water and beach bunker more into play for an errant tee shot. The new tees are elevated more than 30 feet above the lake, providing a dramatic view of the entire hole including the lake and clubhouse.”
Greens and bunkers have also been renovated as part of this phase of work. “The aim of the greens renovation was to restore former pin positions that had been lost over time and to improve the overall playing condition and level of turf maintenance with the introduction of a newer bentgrass,” said Carrick.
“The bunkers have all been re-shaped and rebuilt to create a more natural design character with more irregular shapes and lines, along with some large rugged waste bunkers.”
Work on the practice facilities is scheduled for 2021.