Golf course architect Edwin Roald has completed a golf course renovation at Thorlákshöfn Golf Club in southern Iceland.
Central to the overall renovation plan was to relocate three coastal holes, which were “repeatedly covered in sand blown from the beach and dunes”. The project has taken place in two phases between 2014 and 2020.
“The course was rerouted, with the introduction of four new holes replacing the problematic coastal holes,” said Roald. “While there is ample space for new back tees, this is not a priority. The new routing will play shorter and sweeter for the core customer, with around 200 metres shaved off the previous scorecard. There are now six par threes, two ultra-short par fours, and five par fives.
“The new routing is more compact, shortening green-to-tee walks by 40 per cent and reducing total course area from 68 to 65 hectares. In terms of pace of play, the shortened green-to-tee walks alone should save a quarter of an hour. This addresses the facility’s perceived prior shortcomings, namely course length and difficulty, as well as long green-to-tee walks.”
One of the previous greens became an alternate green on the first hole. “This sets the stage for dual tees on the new par-three second hole, including existing tees whose life is prolonged by the dual design which was partially inspired by holes nine and ten at Bandon’s Pacific Dunes,” said Roald.
From the upper tee, the hole “incorporates multiple classic template elements, including the Redan and the Road hole where the bunker is represented by ground contours within the green, set at a slight angle,” said Roald. “The lower tee requires a pitch over water, along the length of the green, at an angle that reveals certain Biarritz elements in the green.
“We will continue our work to add more forward tees, introduce more local and environmentally friendly signage material, replace gravel with grass on paths for golf traffic, eliminate the only bunker that exists on the course and complete greens and surrounds irrigation installation.”